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To protect ears, limit time listening to loud music: Doctor
March 10, 2018 | 11:26 PM
by Times News Service
A senior ear specialist in Oman has warned people to limit the amount of time spent watching TV or listening to music at a high volume as this could have disastrous consequences on their hearing in the future.
 
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Muscat: A senior ear specialist in Oman has warned people to limit the amount of time spent watching TV or listening to music at a high volume as this could have disastrous consequences on their hearing in the future.

On the occasion of the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) World Hearing Day on March 3, Al Salama Polyclinic in Muscat advised residents and citizens in the Sultanate to reduce the amount of time spent exposed to loud noises.

“When your hearing is less, your productivity is low. This could mean a danger to your job, if you are an adult. If you are a child, it could lead to non-performance in school and parents are going to be worried about this. They might think that something else is causing their child to not be attentive. Human resources will be affected, if hearing problems are not treated. WHO is trying to make people aware of the dangers of hearing loss,” Dr Sharath Kumar, ENT specialist at Al Salama, said.

“This is one of the more underrated scenarios the WHO considers these days. Worldwide, almost 460 million people have some amount of hearing loss. By 2030, this number is going to double. There are going to be some billion people suffering from both treatable and non-treatable hearing conditions,” he added.



Kumar also said using headphones, an increasingly common accessory these

days, could lead to long-term hearing loss.

“When you use headphones, you inadvertently listen to music at a high volume. This directly affects the inner ear. The ear can be divided into outer, middle, and inner ear. If you have problems with your middle ear, they can be treated. But when loud noises are repeatedly being heard, the cochlea, located in the inner ear, gets damaged. These are just like nerve endings. Once they are damaged, they cannot be repaired,” he explained.

“If this happens, you either have to get a cochlear implant or a hearing aid. There is no other choice. This is not a magic solution though. A lot of rehabilitation is needed. When you put in a cochlear implant, your entire perception will change. You will have to train yourself to get along with this implant. It is better to safeguard our natural hearing than to go for these measures,” he further said.

Nearly 10-20 per cent of Kumar’s patients at Al Salama complain of early-onset hearing difficulties.

“Many symptoms of hearing loss go unrecognised. This condition seems to be growing exponentially. Every centre will not have this sort of hearing assessment set-up, so people must be more aware of what can cause hearing loss, and more services must be provided to make people aware about these things,” he said.

Commenting on World Hearing Day, Kumar said: “The initiative was launched in 2007 because of the hearing defects in newborns and the loss of hearing due to changes in our lifestyle. This is not something that is being focused on and people chose to not pay attention to the symptoms but this will cause problems in the future.”

In this regard, the Al Salama Polyclinic has also issued an advisory for people. “Avoid headphones and loud music. Children are very tender, so these issues could affect them their entire life. Parents should be very careful with their children because they are prone to infections, which if not treated properly, could cause hearing loss. Newborns must be taken for ear screening tests as early as possible,” Kumar said.

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