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Over 6% Of Indian Population Have Hearing Impairment, Safe Listening Practices To Avoid Hearing Loss

More Than 6 per cent of Indian population suffer from hearing impairment.

Practicing safe listening is necessary to avoid hearing Impairment and hearing loss, says Humanitarian Awardee and Renown Audiologist Devangi Dalal on World Humanitarian Day.

If you're listening to music using headphones, make sure to follow the 60/60 rule: 60 min/day with a maximum volume of 60 per cent. Listening to music at a high volume through headphones/earphones can cause damage to your ears and cause noise-induced hearing loss. In India, 6.3 per cent of the population suffer from hearing impairment.

On the occasion of World Humanitarian Day, renown Audiologist and Speech Therapist Devangi Dalal, who is a recipient of the Humanitarian Award from the American Academy of Audiology, shares with us insight on the prevalence of hearing impairment/hearing loss in India and new advances in hearing health. She is also reminding people to follow safe listening practices to avoid hearing loss.

Devangi Dalal is also the first Indian to become a Hearing Health Advocate and a member of the Advocacy Committee of CGHH (Coalition of Global Hearing Health) which works with WHO. She is also the co-founder of Josh Foundation which works for underprivileged hearing impaired children.

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The Audiologist Tells The HealthSite

Prevalence Of Hearing Impairment In India

The most prevalent sensory impairment in people today is hearing loss. According to WHO estimates, there are 63 million or so significant hearing-impaired people in India, putting the estimated prevalence at 6.3 per cent of the population. According to the NSSO (National Sample Survey Office) survey, there are currently 291 people per lakh who have severe to profound hearing loss. The majority of these are kids, ranging in age from 0 to 14 years old. Even more people in our demographic have unilateral (one-sided) hearing loss and milder degrees of hearing loss.

In terms of percentages, 4 per cent of the urban population and 11 per cent of the rural and slum populations of India have hearing impairment. As a result, it is causing significant losses in the nation's overall output. However, India's efforts to treat hearing loss are on par with those performed elsewhere in the globe. Further, now Indian government which started its national deafness program a few years ago aims to provide best hearing facilities for people with hearing impairment. The initiative involves creating awareness among the Indian populace.

Treatment Available In The Country

In India, the method used to treat those who have hearing loss is mostly dependent upon the underlying cause of the issue. For instance, earwax blocks the ears, resulting in a mild degree of hearing loss. In these circumstances, earwax removal with suction and doctor's supervision helps to restore normal hearing. During temporary deafness, infections of the middle ear are removed such as bacterial infections and fungal infections. These might need right medication to restore the healthy condition of the ear. Such infections might cause temporary hearing impairment which can be recovered with the help of medication.

However, the main area of attention is treating deafness inflicted by inner ear damage, which is tragically permanent. Indian Audiologists treat these disorders with powerful, cutting-edge hearing aids that include a battery, microphone, amplifier, and loudspeaker for amplifying sound according to individual's requirement so the patients can differentiate the noise of road-traffic or human speech conversation. These devices often fit neatly inside the ear and are small. Additionally, there are computerized hearing aids with precise fitting and embedded programmable microcomputers that can adapt to various situations. These could be open or behind-the-ear. Other varieties of hearing aids include BiCROS and CROS types as well as receiver in-the-ear (RITE), In-the-canal (ITC), In-the-ear (ITE), and completely in-the-canal (CIC).

Safe Listening Practices To Avoid Hearing Loss

The collaborative efforts of a varied group of professionals, parents/caregivers, policymakers, laypeople, and hearing impaired individuals in the prevention, diagnosis, and management of hearing impairment in India is the most encouraging recent development. A situation like this bodes well for people with disabilities and the specialists working in the rehabilitation fields.

Recent studies by the WHO predicts that 1.1 billion youngsters will have hearing impairment by 2030, hence practicing safe listening is necessary to avoid or lessen the likelihood of acquiring hearing loss. Additionally, it protects those who already have hearing impairment from further damage.

  • While attending concerts or sporting events, you can listen safely by wearing earplugs to limit noise by 15 to 35 decibels. Noise induced hearing loss is very common.
  • As enclosed areas enhance sound and worsen hearing impairment, it is crucial to choose headphones over ear buds, set personal listening device volume limits, follow the 60/60 rule by listening 60 min/day using headphones with a maximum volume of 60 per cent and turn down the radio, stereo, and television.

Hearing loss caused by ageing can also be treated with today's technological advancements. In today's world, technology has the potential to minimize disability in society, which can gradually become more effective in the coming future.

World Humanitarian Day (WHD) is observed on this day every year to recognize humanitarian workers and pay tribute to those who have lost their lives working for humanitarian causes. It marks the day when 22 humanitarian aid workers, including the then UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Iraq, Sergio Vieira de Mello, were killed a bomb attack on the Canal Hotel in Baghdad. The incident happened on 19th August 2003.

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