Hearing disability is the second most common disability in India. According to studies, around 466 million people worldwide have disabling hearing loss, and 34 million of these are children. By 2050, over 900 million people will have disabling hearing loss.
Hearing Loss: What It Means?
Refers to a partial or complete inability to hear sounds. A number of factors can cause your hearing to be impaired, including genetic causes, complications at birth, certain infectious diseases, chronic ear infections, exposure to excessive noise, ageing, etc.
Here’s a quick checklist to test your hearing:
-When you chat with people face-to-face, do you have to focus carefully?
-Do you find it hard to understand people on the telephone?
-Do you often find yourself asking people to repeat what they said?
-Are you often told that the television, radio, or any sound-producing device is too loud?
-Do you often hear rushing, hissing, or ringing sounds in one or both ears?
If you answered “yes” to most of the above questions, do consult a doctor and have your hearing checked.
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As per WHO, 1.1 billion young people, aged between 12–35 years, are at risk of hearing loss due to exposure to noise in recreational settings.
Never turn a deaf ear to hearing problems with these easy tips:
1. Know the dos and don’ts of ear cleaning: Don’t try to clean your ears by poking anything into the ear canals. It may injure the skin, middle or inner ear or impact earwax. Clean the outside of your ear with a damp cloth. If required, ask your doctor to guide on removing the excess wax.
2. Avoid loud noises: Keep away from loud noise as much as you can. Noise levels are measured in decibels (dB): the higher the number, the louder the noise. A prolonged exposure to any sound over 85dB can be especially harmful to your ears.
Here’s a list of common activity/events and their probable noise levels (in dB). Use it to compare and get an idea of how loud a sound can be:
– Whispering: 30 dB
– Conversation: 60 dB
– Busy traffic: 70-85 dB
– Using headphones on full volume: 100-110 dB
– Plane taking off: 120 dB
Additionally, here are a few tips to follow when listening to music. These are:
– Don’t listen to music at more than 60% of the maximum volume
– Prefer using noise-cancelling earphones
– Don’t use earphones for more than an hour at a time. Take a break for at least 5 minutes every hour
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3. Protect ears from injury: Wear a helmet while cycling and playing contact sports.Take all precautions while scuba diving. And never go swimming in dirty water.
4. Get your hearing tested: You may be at a higher risk of noise-induced hearing loss if you’re a musician or work in noisy environments.
Find people around you mumble more than they used to do before? Consult An Expert
Remember, hearing loss often cannot be reversed. The earlier hearing loss is diagnosed, the earlier something can be done about it.
(The article is reviewed by Dr. Swati Mishra, Medical Editor)
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1. Varshney S. Deafness in India. Indian J Otol 2016;22:73-6. http://www.indianjotol.org/article.asp?issn=0971-7749;year=2016;volume=22;issue=2;spage=73;epage=76;aulast=Varshney
2. Key Facts. Deafness And Hearing Loss. The World Health Organization (WHO). https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/deafness-and-hearing-loss