KOLKATA: Ahead of the World Hearing Day, experts have urged everyone to get themselves checked to prevent unsafe listening practices, with the World Health Organization (WHO) estimating a rising trend of hearing impairment across the globe.
“Earlobes have two important functions - localization of sound and reflecting the unwanted sound. Using earphones, one bypasses them. We think we are hearing very well, but today’s earphone users are going to be tomorrow’s hearing aid users,” said Sudipta Chandra, ENT, head and neck cancer specialist.
However, there is no significant study that can provide a fixed duration of hours of earphone usage that is safe. Using headphone and portable speakers are fine if the volume is below 85 decibels.
As per a WHO estimate, there were 466 million persons in the world with hearing the loss in 2018 and the figure is likely to increase to 630 million by 2030. Also, 1.1 billion young people are at risk due to unsafe listening practices.
“This year’s theme of World Hearing Day is ‘check your hearing’. People should act immediately as loss of hearing is preventable, curable and treatable,” another ENT specialst M.N. Bhattacharya said.
“In the developed countries Newborn Hearing Screening is mandatory and it is slowly catching up in the country,” Bhattacharya said.
Another ENT specialist, Aniruddha Majumder, explained that deafness or low hearing is either by birth or acquired. The three stages of the problem range from mild, moderate to severe loss of hearing.
It is important to act at the slightest of signs where a person needs to increase the volume, missing parts of conversations. Proper immunization of pregnant women and newborn babies will also prevent infections like meningitis and measles that can impair hearing, he said.
WHO has launched a free mobile application ‘hearWHO’ compatible on iOS and Android devices. This app gives the general public access to a hearing screener to check their hearing status and monitor it over time.
Since 2007, March 3 is observed as World Hearing Day. (IANS)
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