Saturday, July 20, 2024

Prolonged use of ear buds can lead to loss of hearing: KGMU doctor

Prolonged use of ear buds by the young generation is causing severe ear infection.

Prof Virendra Verma, head of KGMU ENT department said, “Every week, we come across four cases of ear infection in which extended use of earphones is common. The infections increase more during hot and humid weather because of moisture in the environment.”

He added, “Five to six years ago, such cases were rare. Studies have proven that prolonged usage of earphones has increased the prevalence of hearing loss in adolescents and young adults between the ages of 16 and 30.”

Explaining the reasons behind the infection as well as hearing loss, Dr Rakesh Srivastava, president of the Association of Otolaryngologists of India (AOI) in Lucknow, who sees around seven such cases weekly, said the ear canal needs air just like the rest of our body, and keeping it closed for a long time leads to sweat buildup and infection.

“The mastoid (bone behind the ear) and middle ear may catch infection due to prolonged headphone usage because there are tiny hairs in our ear canal which provides space for fungus and bacteria present in the air to thrive. When we use the canal for a long time, bacterial and fungal infections start to grow,” he added.

“To avoid this, we must follow the 60-60 formula, which suggests taking a 10-minute break every 60 minutes of using earbuds, and the volume should not exceed 60 per cent,” he suggested.

Former ENT surgeon at Balrampur Hospital, Dr S.C. Saxena said: “If such infections become frequent, this illness might become resistant to all treatment, affecting the hearing bones and eventually resulting in hearing loss. Therefore, adolescents need to be taught about appropriate listening habits and the risks of excessive use of headphones.”

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