Wednesday November 21, 2018

WHO: Nearly 1 Billion People Risk Hearing Loss by 2050

Problems resulting from hearing loss are expected to rise because of a growing and aging population - a population that is expected to reach 9 billion by 2050

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An 85-year-old Nepalese man is seen fitted with a hearing aid, in Kathmandu, Nepal, April 12, 2017. VOA
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On the occasion of World Hearing Day, Saturday, the World Health Organization (WHO) is warning one in 10 people globally, or more than 900 million, are at risk of disabling hearing loss by 2050 unless preventive action is taken now.

The World Health Organization reports 466 million people around the world currently suffer from disabling hearing loss. The annual cost to countries in direct health services and lost productivity resulting from this disability is estimated at $750 billion.

Problems resulting from hearing loss are expected to rise because of a growing and aging population – a population that is expected to reach 9 billion by 2050.

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Shelly Chadha, a technical officer in the WHO’s Department of Prevention of Deafness and Hearing Loss, says the rise in the aging population does not mean that an increase in hearing loss is inevitable. She says there are many factors besides aging that affect hearing.

hearing loss
In cases where hearing loss is unavoidable, the WHO says people can be helped through technologies such as hearing aids and surgically implanted electronic cochlear implants. Pexels

“These may be factors such as infectious diseases, which we may encounter in childhood – rubella or mumps, meningitis or ear infections. There may be factors such as exposure to loud sounds, to loud music or noise at workplaces. Many of these causes are preventable, and by addressing them, we can reduce or minimize the risk of hearing loss,” Chadha said.

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The WHO reports about 60 percent of hearing loss in children can be prevented. Measures include immunizing children against infectious diseases, screening and treating chronic ear infections, avoiding the use of drugs harmful to hearing, and controlling exposure to loud sounds and music.

It says these devices are of great benefit to the hard-of-hearing because they make it possible for them to better communicate and socialize with others. (VOA)

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Study: Smoking During Pregnancy can Cause Hearing Loss in Baby

Children who were exposed to tobacco smoke during pregnancy and second-hand smoke at 4 months had a 2.4 times increased relative risk

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Weight management strategies during pregnancy reduce child cardiometabolic risk such as diabetes and heart disease. Pixabay

If you are planning to start motherhood, quit smoking, say researchers. Exposing your baby to tobacco smoke during pregnancy or after the birth may cause hearing impairment in them.

According to the researchers, babies who were exposed to smoking during pregnancy had a 68 per cent increased relative risk of developing hearing problems.

“This study clearly shows that preventing exposure to tobacco smoke during pregnancy and postnatally may reduce the risk of hearing problems in children,” said Koji Kawakami from the Kyoto University in Japan.

The study, published in the journal Pediatric and Perinatal Epidemiology, included data from 50,734 children aged 3 years.

Representational image.
Representational image. Pixabay

Out of the group, 3.8 per cent were exposed to smoking only during pregnancy, 3.9 per cent were exposed only to second-hand smoke at 4 months and 0.9 per cent were exposed to tobacco smoke during pregnancy and at 4 months.

The results showed that the prevalence of hearing impairment among babies aged three who were exposed to smoke was 4.6 per cent while those exposed to only second-hand smoke at 4 months had a 30 per cent increased relative risk.

Also Read: Research Shows Smoking Affects Leg Muscles

Children who were exposed to tobacco smoke during pregnancy and second-hand smoke at 4 months had a 2.4 times increased relative risk.

“The findings remind us of the need to continue strengthening interventions to prevent smoking before and during pregnancy and exposure to second-hand smoke in children,” Kawakami added. (IANS)