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Monday, Sep 23, 2019

Mumbai citizens ail from ear infections due to sound pollution, bad air

Doctors from Atmasingh Jethasingh ENT Municipal Hospital in Fort said that the number of cases of ear infections has grown 10 times in the last three year

mumbai Updated: Dec 17, 2018 16:43 IST
Sadaguru Pandit
Sadaguru Pandit
Hindustan Times
Picture for representation only.
Picture for representation only.(HT Photo)

Noise and air pollution are becoming major causes of severe ear infections that can lead to temporary or permanent hearing loss, warn doctors from a municipal medical facility in the city that specialises in ear, nose, and throat (ENT) cases.

Doctors from Atmasingh Jethasingh ENT Municipal Hospital in Fort said that the number of cases of ear infections has grown 10 times in the last three years.

“Two to three years ago, we used to treat 10 to 15 cases with high severity of the infection every month but now the number of admissions has reached 120 to 130. The reason behind this is lack of physical exercise and access to fresh air and increasing infrastructural projects which create polluted pockets in the city,” said Dr Atul Vaykole, medical officer from the hospital.

“While constant noise pollution directly causes rupture of tympanic membrane [eardrum], air pollution results in recurrent cold and cough, which leads to complications. In all these cases, the condition causes hearing loss of varying severity. Rarely, one in one lakh cases results in meningitis and coma,” he added.

The hospital treats around 2,000 patients annually and performed 1,600 ear surgeries between January 2017 and November 2018. In the past four months, it has treated over 493 cases of Chronic Suppurative Otitis Media (CSOM), a prolonged ear infection that causes chronic inflammation and hearing loss. In the same period last year, the hospital had attended 474 cases of the same infection.

Dr Vinod Gite, assistant professor at the RN Cooper Hospital, Vile Parle, said CSOM cases formed 60% of all ear related infections. “CSOM is completely curable and preventable if attended within a month of the infection. Unfortunately, patients reach us with a delay of two to three months, only after they start noticing partial hearing loss or pus discharge. In some cases, patients suffer facial paralysis, brain infection leading to meningitis, or serious complications such as abscess in the brain,” he said.

It was observed that in many cases the complications arose after patients stop medication mid-way after initial relief. “In such cases, patients are left with some degree of hearing loss instead of being completely cured,” Dr Gite added.

Dr Vaykole said that infection control is still better in the city where advanced treatment is possible but the success rate dips drastically when you check the data in other districts of Maharashtra. “Advanced medical intervention is available at all civic hospitals free of cost with a good success rate. People need to visit the doctor as soon as possible along with maintaining personal hygiene and immunity to prevent such infections,” he said.

First Published: Dec 16, 2018 23:58 IST