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Deafness rising; who cares to listen?

This is the International Week of the Deaf, opportune time to listen to the advice against noise pollution. Yet while the cases of deafness are rising, no one is willing to hear.

punjab Updated: Sep 25, 2013 22:45 IST
Rameshinder Singh Sandhu

This is the International Week of the Deaf, opportune time to listen to the advice against noise pollution. Yet while the cases of deafness are rising, no one is willing to hear.

Even in the holy city, people are deaf to the din that is bringing hearing disorders to them silently. Doctors are worried, for the see the problems growing in every age group because of pressure horns, DJ music, fireworks, and loudspeakers.


The banned pressure horn continues to blow free especially in the walled city area popular among visitors. Same goes at Lawrence Road, Mall Road, Queens Road, and GT Road, around the railway station, bus stand, schools and other institutions. "The pressure-horn noise disturbs sleep and mental peace," said government physician Dr Sartaj Singh.

Because law sleeps during all-night DJ parties, the residential neighbourhoods, especially patients and senior citizens, can't. "During festivals such as Diwali, when people burst crackers even past the 10pm deadline, why does no one stop them?" said housewife Charanjeet Kaur Bal, adding: "The crackers create not only noise but also air pollution, and scare the animals."

"More than 5% of the world's population, 36-crore people, have hearing loss. World Health Organisation (WHO) has counted 6.3-crore hearing-impaired people in India, and most of them are young. It's a loss of productivity, both physical and economic," said Dr Dinesh Kumar, assistant professor of ENT (ear, nose and throat) at Government Medical College, Amritsar. Hearing loss may be inherited or caused by complications at birth, certain infectious diseases, chronic ear infections, ageing and exposure to noise.

Even keeping mobile phone to the ear for 60 minutes a day can do lasting damage to the hearing ability. People with high-frequency hearing loss (attributed to mobile phones) cannot hear sounds ranging from 2,000 to 8,000 Hertz, which can affect the ability to understand speech.

"To keep the ears functional, we have to control our exposure to noise, or by and by, our ears will start to suffer," said Dr Jagdeepak Singh, another professor from the college, advising people to avoid dirty swimming pools to keep away the ear infections. In general, all doctors have only one message: "Prevention is better than cure."

Municipal commissioner DPS Kharbanda says his team makes regular efforts to curb noise pollution in the city. Amritsar, however, has no silence zone, even though traffic police officer Baljeet Randhawa had recommended these.

Citizens'speak

Hearing loss is becoming more prevalent in the younger generation because of traffic noise related to pressure horns
Dr Sartaj Singh, government physician

Using mobile phone for more than 60 minutes a day can do lasting damage and lead to high-frequency deafness
Dr Dinesh Kumar, ENT expert

We have to control our exposure to noise, or by and by, our ears will start to suffer. Prevention is better than cure
Dr Jagdeepak Singh, ENT expert

During festivals such as Diwali, when people burst crackers past the 10pm deadline, why does no one stop them?
Charanjeet Kaur Bal, housewife

Officialspeak
We'll pressurise traffic police to slap fines on people who still use pressure horns. We are working together with the pollution control board

DPS Kharbanda, municipal commissioner