Doctors stress lowering exposure to noise, avoiding drugs to prevent hearing loss
Srinagar, Sep 25 : Lowering exposure to noise, staying away from drugs and maintaining cardiovascular health is vital to keeping one’s ears safe and preventing hearing loss, according to doctors.
Talking to the news agency—Kashmir News Observer, Dr Saima Tabassum, Consultant ENT J&K Health Services, said there are various ways to protect the ears from hearing loss and the most important nowadays is lowering the exposure to noise.
Lowering the exposure to noise is the key to reducing the risk of noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) as no matter what the age or hearing status is, it is always a good idea to protect the ears hearing while getting exposed to loud sounds, she said.
“Apart from the noise, we should be aware of drugs that cause hearing loss,” Dr Saima said, adding that there are hundreds of over-the-counter and prescription drugs linked to hearing loss.
These ototoxic drugs can damage the hearing ability permanently, so one must consult the expert before taking any medication, she advised.
Other factors to consider, Dr Saima said, are maintaining cardiovascular health. “Raised blood pressure, cardiac disease and deranged lipid profile can damage the vascular mechanisms inside the ear that help one hear. Those having high cholesterol or blood pressure are at risk,” she said.
Similarly, various researchers have shown that people with diabetes are twice as likely to have hearing loss, the ENT Consultant said, adding, “Smoking and drinking have also shown an association with hearing loss as studies have shown that cigarette smoke can have a big impact on a person’s hearing health.”
Dr Tabsassum also mentioned alcohol saying its heavy use can produce free radicals which are toxic to the body and ear. To maintain healthy ears, we must exercise and practice stress reduction as it improves blood flow and helps body and ear health in countless ways, she explained.
“Like exercise, healthy eating is highly beneficial so food high in certain vitamins and minerals especially B12, potassium and magnesium are vital to good hearing. Studies have shown beneficial effects of iron-rich diet in good hearing,” she said.
Another ENT specialist from GMC Srinagar told KNO that the signs and symptoms of hearing loss may include muffling of speech and other sounds, difficulty understanding words, especially against background noise or in a crowd, trouble hearing consonants, frequently asking others to speak more slowly, clearly and loudly.
He said the causes of hearing loss include damage to the inner ear as ageing and exposure to loud noise may cause wear and tear on hairs or nerve cells in the cochlea that send sound signals to the brain.
“When these hairs or nerve cells are damaged or missing, electrical signals aren’t transmitted as efficiently, and hearing loss occurs,” he said, adding that the ear war can block the ear canal and prevent conduction of sound waves and earwax removal can help restore the hearing.
In the outer or middle of the ear, any of these issues can cause hearing loss and loud blasts of noise, sudden changes in pressure, poking your eardrum with an object and infection can cause the eardrum to rupture and affect the hearing, he said.
The International Day of the Deaf is being observed every last Sunday of September which serves as a platform to raise awareness about the daily challenges faced by the deaf community. The day serves to highlight the value of sign language as a means of communication and this day reminds us of the importance of ear and hearing—(KNO)