This year’s theme of world hearing day is Hearing for life – Don’t let hearing loss limit you. World health organization selected this theme to emphasize that early detection of hearing loss and timely intervention with newer technology can change the quality of life in each individual. Good and precise hearing is essential for education, communication and employment. In all life stages a healthy hearing is important to connect each other and communicate legibly. Unfortunately, in every part of the world hearing care and hearing loss detection programs are insufficient and world health organization suggests the availability of hearing screening in all public health systems.
About hearing loss in children, around 1 in 1000 newborn babies suffer from severe degree of hearing loss, which requires an intervention at their early stages of life. Some of the common causes of hearing loss in children are due to prematurity, chromosomal abnormality, hereditary diseases, and severe birth trauma like anoxia during birth, less oxygenation to brain, severe jaundice after birth and meningitis. Ear infections are very common in children and timely treatment and follow-ups are important to prevent hearing in future. It is essential to detect hearing loss in children in early stages to prevent speech and language disabilities.
Early hearing detections can be done in newborn children even at 4-5 days after one’s birth by Oto acoustic emission evaluation. Newer technologies like hearing aids are helpful and be placed after assessing the hearing loss severity. If the child is getting benefit from the hearing aid, then proceed with speech and learning therapy for 6 months. Otherwise if the child is not getting a benefit with hearing aid, then more advanced newer modality of treatment like cochlear implantation can be helpful depend upon individual basis. In this the cochlear electrode is placed inside the cochlea. With the help of cochlear implantation can reduce the hearing deficit from 90-95 % to 20-25 %.
In adults the common causes of hearing loss are chronic ear infections, use of particular drugs, exposure to excessive noise and ageing. Of this noise induced hearing loss is a preventable type of hearing loss. And can be avoided by eliminating loud noise exposure. This type of hearing loss is mainly depending upon how much loud the sound the person hearing, the time duration of hearing the loud sound and how often the person is exposed to the loud sound. The other fact about noise induced hearing loss is a single exposure of excessive loud sound might cause permanent ear damage.
The most common cause of hearing loss in workplace is due to long term exposure of loud noise. It is the most common chronic occupational illness and normally appears at the end of one’s working life. This causes irreversible hearing loss and in order to prevent this ear protection is needed at work place and industrial areas. A simple ear plug might be useful in so many circumstances to avoid loud noise, hence always keep an ear plug in every one’s purse or bag.
Many people with unidentified hearing loss are often failing to realize that they are missing out on certain sounds and words. Checking one’s own hearing is the first step towards addressing the issue. Timely detection and effective interventions can ensure to achieve full potentials in persons with hearing loss. If you have any problem related to it, visit your nearest Al Hilal Hospital & Medical Centers ENT department. Let us all work together towards a better tomorrow by preventing and treating hearing loss.
MBBS, MS, DNB, MRCS (ENT)
Al Hilal Hospital