Saturday December 7, 2019

Brett Lee: Hearing Loss is Curable

Identifying children with hearing loss at birth can ensure treatment and save them from further deterioration such as deficit in hearing, understanding speech, speaking and language deficits

Brett Lee: Hearing Loss is Curable
Brett Lee: Hearing Loss is Curable. (IANS)

Creating awareness about Universal Newborn Hearing Screening (UNHS), former Australian cricket sensation Brett Lee on Wednesday said hearing loss is treatable and early screening and intervention can ensure a normal life for children with profound hearing loss.

“No one in this world deserves to live in silence. People should know that hearing loss is treatable and that it should not prevent a person from leading an active, full life. Universal Newborn Hearing Screening (UNHS) can help address these issues early in life,” Lee told reporters here.

The former pacer is also the Global Hearing Ambassador with global implantable hearing aid firm Cochlear.

“There is an urgent need of making the ‘new-born screen test’ for hearing mandatory as well as for educating parents of children with hearing loss so that they make the best intervention at the earliest,” said Lee, who began spearheading the cause of hearing loss three years ago, in the wake of an accident that temporarily impaired his son’s hearing.

Deafness, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), refers to the complete loss of hearing ability in one or both ears, while “hearing impairment” refers to both complete and partial loss of hearing ability. Nearly 360 million people, nearly one-tenth of them children, suffer from hearing loss worldwide.

“About one lakh children born in India every year suffer from severe to profound hearing loss. Overall the figure may be 10 lakhs,” Shalabh Sharma, ENT surgeon at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, New Delhi, told IANS.

Representational image.
Representational image. Pixabay

Identifying children with hearing loss at birth can ensure treatment and save them from further deterioration such as deficit in hearing, understanding speech, speaking and language deficits, Sharma said.

“If children are tested as soon as they are born and get diagnosed with mild to moderate loss, then within a few months (0-6 months) they can be fitted with hearing aids and the children can live normal life like their peers,” he noted.

Besides, screening of the newborns, parents need to intervene at the slightest suspicion about their child’s ability to hear. A hearing test is cheap and readily available at various audiology and hearing test clinics.

Also Read: Smoking may up risk of hearing loss

Hearing loss occurs due to a number of reasons such as genetic; infections such as measles, mumps, rubella and meningitis; complications at birth, including prematurity, low birth weight and neonatal jaundice; and because of in-vitro exposure to some harmful medicines that expectant mothers use.

While UNHS has been made mandatory in developed countries such as the US, Europe and Australia, India has still not included it in the list of health screening procedures for the newborns, Sharma said.

Unlike hearing aids, which make sounds louder, cochlear implants bypass the damaged hair cells of the inner ear (cochlea) to provide sound signals to the brain.

The implant electrodes stimulate the cochlea’s hearing nerve, which then sends the impulses to the brain where they are interpreted as sound. (IANS)

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Here’s How Healthy Diet Reduces Risk Of Hearing Loss

Study has found that healthy diet can lower the risk of hearing loss

Healthy diet
Eating a healthy diet can lower the risk of hearing loss. Pixabay

Researchers have found that eating a healthy diet may reduce the risk of acquired hearing loss.

Using longitudinal data collected in the Nurses’ Health Study II Conservation of Hearing Study (CHEARS), researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in US, examined three-year changes in hearing sensitivities and found that women whose eating patterns adhered more closely to commonly recommended healthful dietary patterns have substantially lowered risk of decline in hearing sensitivity.

“A common perception is that hearing loss is an inevitable part of the aging process. However, our research focuses on identifying potentially modifiable risk factors – that is, things that we can change in our diet and lifestyle to prevent hearing loss or delay its progression,” said lead author Sharon Curhan.

“The benefits of adherence to healthful dietary patterns have been associated with numerous positive health outcomes and eating a healthy diet may also help reduce the risk of hearing loss,” Curhan added.

Previous studies have suggested that higher intake of specific nutrients and certain food, such as the carotenoids beta-carotene and beta-cryptoxanthin (found in squash, carrots, oranges and other fruits and vegetables) were associated with lower risk of self-reported hearing loss.

Healthy diet for hearing
Hearing Loss is believed to be the part of the aging process but a healthy diet can lower the risk of hearing loss. Pixabay

For the study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, the researchers established 19 geographically diverse testing sites across the US and trained teams of licensed audiologists to follow standardised CHEARS methods.

The audiologists measured changes in pure-tone hearing thresholds, the lowest volume that a pitch can be detected by the participant in a given ear, over the course of three years.

An audiologist presented tones of different frequencies (0.5, 1 and 2 kHz as low-frequencies; at 3 kHz and 4 kHz as mid-frequencies; and at 6 kHz and 8 kHz as higher frequencies) at variable “loudness” levels and participants were asked to indicate when they could just barely hear the tone.

Using over 20 years of dietary intake information that was collected every four years beginning in 1991, the researchers investigated how closely participants’ long-term diets resembled some well-established and currently recommended dietary patterns, such as the DASH diet, the Mediterranean diet, and Alternate Healthy Index-2010 (AHEI-2010).

Greater adherence to these dietary patterns has been associated with a number of important health outcomes, including lower risk of heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, stroke and death as well as healthy aging.

The team found that the odds of a decline in mid-frequency hearing sensitivities were almost 30 per cent lower among those whose diets most closely resembled these healthful dietary patterns, compared with women whose diets least resembled the healthy diet. In the higher frequencies, the odds were up to 25 per cent lower.

Also Read- Mutations in Genes Associated with Heart Disease: Study

“The association between diet and hearing sensitivity decline encompassed frequencies that are critical for speech understanding,” said Curhan.

“We were surprised that so many women demonstrated hearing decline over such a relatively short period of time,” Curhan added. (IANS)