Watch that common cold, it could make you deaf!

Updated: 17 December, 2018 16:58 IST | Rupsa Chakraborty | Mumbai

Doctors say don't ignore the ear pain usually associated with a cold; pollution, excessive use of ear phones could also cause issues

Doctors say people usually ignore ear issues and hence delay the treatment. Istock pic for representation
Doctors say people usually ignore ear issues and hence delay the treatment. Istock pic for representation

Rising infections following a common cold and cough, and even pollution are causing ear problems, with the BMC-run Seth Atmasingh Jessasingh Bankebihari Ear-Nose-Throat Hospital in Fort performing over 1,600 ear surgeries since its inception 15 months ago. The hospital has been receiving 100 such cases every month. Doctors say most of these cases are due to ear infections caused by a cold. The rising usage of headphones is also considered one of the causes for ear infections. They say pollution, too, is a contributor.

Don't ignore that ear pain
One often overlooks pain in the ears, especially when one has a cold. But doctors warn that it could lead to deafness. Ramesh Nair, a 12-year-old resident of Sion, had developed a seasonal viral infection, common during winter. Besides fever, he also had body ache, and soon developed pain in his ears.

"His parents took him to a paediatrician who gave him medicines to control the flu, but did not pay heed to the pain in his ears. He recovered but after a week, the pain in his ears relapsed. It was so severe that he couldn't sleep at night," said Dr Sudha Mitra, an ENT specialist. "When he was brought to me, I diagnosed ear drum perforation due to the cold," she added.

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Watch that sound
Medical Officer Dr Atul Vaikole said, "We receive around 100 cases of ear-related issues every month. In 90 per cent of the cases, we get more patients complaining of ear ailments than throat and nose complaints."

"The most common problems that the patients have are of their ears watering, which is mostly caused due to common cold, pollution (air, etc) and more importantly, noise pollution. It is often seen that the patient does not pay attention to the problems associated with the ears in the beginning, which delays the treatment. In the past 15 months, we have operated upon over 1,600 patients and in 70 per cent of the cases, they had come late for treatment," he added.

Careful with those earphones
Excessive usage of earphones is also considered harmful in the long run. Around 10 per cent of ear issue cases are due to this. "Humans can tolerate sound up to 100 decibels for 15 minutes. But sadly, we listen to sounds at the same pitch for hours. This can cause permanent ear damage. We have tiny hair cells in the cochlea in our ears, which die when exposed to loud noise. Once they die they don't regrow. Their loss causes hearing damage," said Chief Medical Officer at the BMC ENT Hospital, Dr Deepika Rane.

Be aware of ear issues
Lack of awareness among people regarding ENT related problems has become an obstruction in early diagnosis. Dr Vinod Geete, an ENT expert said, "The lack of awareness among people regarding ENT problems delays the treatment. There are many people with ear/hearing issues in rural areas."

Look after your ears, especially in winter

  • Always keep ears covered
  • Don't put oil into them or dig into them
  • Don't listen to loud music
  • Don't sit beside a window in running vehicles
  • Visit an ENT if there is ear pain

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First Published: 17 December, 2018 07:44 IST

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