World Deaf Day: Why ear buds do more harm then good, Pune experts plug the holes

Not many realise that ear drums or hearing of a person is generally damaged due to usage of ear buds. In the last 10 years, people have invented many innovative ways to use ear buds and similar products which can lead to permanent damage, and can cause partial hearing loss which cannot be reversed. Hence, it is important to ban such products which are easily available.
Dr Sanjay Dharmadhikari, President Association of Otolaryngologists of India (AOI) Pune.(HT FILE PHOTO)
Dr Sanjay Dharmadhikari, President Association of Otolaryngologists of India (AOI) Pune.(HT FILE PHOTO)
Updated on Sep 30, 2018 03:52 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, Pune | ByNozia Sayyed

This World Deaf Day, observed on every last Sunday of September, doctors have warned the general public of infectious diseases, like influenza, owing to the rise in the number of cases involving sudden hearing loss, permanent damage to the eardrum and perforation due to excessive use of ear buds.

They have also suggested government bodies to stop the production of ear buds in the country, as around 40 per cent cases of damage to the ear drum and perforation are mainly due to ear buds, claimed Dr Sanjay Dharmadhikari, president, Association of Otolaryngologists of India (AOI), Pune. He stressed the need to put a ban on production of ear buds for preventive measures against hearing loss.

Not many realise that ear drums or hearing of a person is generally damaged due to usage of ear buds. In the last 10 years, people have invented many innovative ways to use ear buds and similar products which can lead to permanent damage, and can cause partial hearing loss which cannot be reversed. Hence, it is important to ban such products which are easily available. Ears have a natural mechanism to push out the wax and one should not put any object inside the ear, he said.

Besides that he also added, “On World Deaf Day, we as an association have demanded the regulatory bodies to ban such damagecausing products. Many people who fail to diagnose their condition at an early stage need a surgery and implant; such cases are mainly seen in peripheral areas of the state.”

Other experts stressed that there are also rising number of cases of sudden hearing loss attributed to the sudden change in weather conditions and rising infectious diseases. Dr Murarji Ghadge, secretary of AOI, Pune, said, “In the last 10 days alone, I have seen around 15 cases of sudden hearing loss and in around 20 to 30 per cent people, this damage is irreversible. However, there is no study or data that can determine the rising incidence, but the causes, like influenza, weather changes, noise pollution and mainly increased usage of devices, are the leading causes behind such condition. We need a thorough study to determine the data and understand the aetiology of the condition.”

Other than that, Dr Ghadge also claimed that under the government’s assistance to disabled persons for purchase (ADIP) scheme, which came to Maharashtra only this year but was launched around three years ago, nearly 100 beneficiaries have undergone a cochlear implant surgery across the state.

The cost is covered under the scheme and many patients, who are mainly from low socio-economic background, have benefitted. “Under the scheme, cochlear implant that generally costs around ~5 to ~14 lakh is covered by the government,” he said.

In Pune, six hospitals are empanelled under the scheme, like KEM, Deenanath Mangeshkar Hospital and Bharati Vidyapeeth. However, Sasoon Hospital too has applied for the same and will have its full-fledged unit to conduct cochlear implants.

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