October 2, 2023

Noise pollution: The biggest cause of hearing loss

This is the higher and more specialized part of the brain, where sound waves from the ear to the auditory canal are analyzed and interpreted and made intelligible.

World Hearing Day

Under the auspices of the World Health Organization, “World Hearing Day” is celebrated around the world on March 3 every year, with the aim of highlighting the importance of hearing. Life, Listen With Care “. That is,” To listen for a lifetime, listen carefully. ” If deafness is noticed in time, then with the right treatment, lifelong deprivation can be avoided. But not only in Pakistan, but almost all over the world, there is a severe lack of hearing information, due to which the rate of related problems. According to a 2021 report released by the World Health Organization, approximately 5% of the world’s population (including 432 million adults and 34 million children) suffer from some degree of hearing impairment. It is feared that this number will reach 200 million by 2025, while about 700 million of them will need hearing aids. According to statistics, one third of people over the age of 65 suffer from some degree of deafness. One of the blessings we all have to appreciate and be thankful for. Allah the Almighty states in verse 78 of Surah Al-Muminoon, “And He it is Who made your ears, your eyes and your heart. Every ability we have is entrusted to Allah, the protection of which is obligatory upon us and it is obligatory to give thanks to Him, but to be careless by Him and to deliberately commit any action which may lead to the loss of this blessing. Will be called ungrateful. Deprivation of the gift of hearing adversely affects a person’s potential creativity and not only hinders individual development, but also hinders him from becoming a useful member of society. Helen Keller was a determined and ideal woman, who was not only born blind, but also deaf. His statement is sufficient to illustrate the importance of hearing: “Blindness alienates man from things, but deafness alienates man from man.” It is important and deliberate to protect it from harm. Listening and understanding words is a complex process, but it is also important because unless there is information about something, it is also important to protect it properly. Voices travel in the form of waves, and these waves travel through our ears to a specific part of the brain, where the brain recognizes these waves in the form of meaningful words. The three main parts of the ear play an important role in the hearing process, of which the auditory vein and a specific part of the brain play a key role.

Outer ear:

This is the funnel-shaped part visible on both sides of the face, which transmits sounds coming from different directions to the eardrum.

Middle ear:

It is located on the inner side of the eardrum. Sounds that hit the eardrum reach the inner part of the ear through the three shortest, but moving bones of the body in this middle part.

Inner ear:

It is a very sensitive part resembling a snail, which has very fine and fine cellular fibers (hair cells) on its membrane, which are covered in a cochlear fluid. As sound waves from the middle ear reach the fluid in the inner ear, they vibrate, resulting in the hair cells moving and converting the vibrations into electrical waves, and these hair cells are the cause of the initial recognition of sounds. Are

Cochlear Nerve:

The electrical signals generated in the inner part of the ear travel through the hair cells to the auditory cortex, from where it carries them to the auditory cortex, the part of the brain dedicated to hearing.

Auditory Cortex:

This is the higher and more specialized part of the brain, where sound waves from the ear to the auditory canal are analyzed and interpreted and made intelligible.

It will now be easier to understand that the constant loud noises that reach the ear over a long period of time, such as machines, traffic noise, loud music or the unusual intensity of the shortest time, such as explosions, the sounds of firecrackers, the hair cells inside the ear. Causes irreparable damage. Therefore, it is important to protect the hearing from all kinds of noise, so that no temporary noise can result in permanent hearing impairment.

There are several types of hearing loss, commonly referred to as deafness, but they are divided into two main groups. One type is called permanent deafness and the other is called temporary deafness. Permanent deafness is usually caused by a weakening of the inner ear, the auditory canal, or the hearing aid in the brain, which is not usually cured by medication or general surgery. Or is caused by a defect in the middle part and is treatable. An estimated 60% of childhood deafness is treatable, provided it is treated with a qualified physician with a timely diagnosis. “Decibel” and a healthy person’s hearing power ranges from 20 to 25 decibels. A decrease of 40 decibels in adult hearing indicates deafness, whereas in children this limit is 30 decibels. Deafness can be classified based on this unit. For example, moderate deafness between 30 and 45 decibels, moderate deafness between 46 and 65 decibels, 66 to 85 decibels is called severe deafness and more severe deafness, while 90 decibels or more There are many possible causes for deafness, but in the current industrial age, noise pollution is one of the major causes of hearing loss. Noise pollution not only causes environmental damage, but also adversely affects the health of humans and birds. Noise pollution. Noise pollution is an invisible enemy of human health. Even if it is a traffic noise of factories, machines installed in factories. Whether it’s mobile phones and computer hands-free devices or exciting musical instruments, noise from construction work or the sound of generators, misuse of loudspeakers or pressure horns in cars, these are all factors that cause noise pollution these days. have been. Although all of these inventions are intended to facilitate human beings, their misuse, unnecessary and careless use gradually affects the hearing and human health in general and the psyche in general. The biggest reason is related to loud noises. Some of these are the ever-increasing online educational activities and work-from-home, which has become almost a compulsion due to Code-19 and its various variants, but some activities are also merely amateurish, such as fast music, which Hands-free hearing aids are commonly used. Remember, the closer you hear loud noises, the greater the chances of hearing loss.

According to the World Health Organization, about one billion young people are currently at risk of hearing loss due to carelessness in hearing. They are connected to the ear by ear, have a direct negative effect on the very sensitive inner part of hearing. In this regard, it is essential to raise awareness, especially among the youth. Young people should also avoid using hands-free devices as much as possible and make their ears accustomed to appropriate and muffled sounds, otherwise today’s hobby can lead to hearing impairment in the next life. In addition, a large number of noise-affected people come from factories and factories where workers are exposed to extremely loud machine noise for hours on a daily basis, which gradually impairs their hearing. Unfortunately, in our country, there are no adequate safety measures in place for the hearing of people working in factories or near machines, nor is there any provision for annual hearing checks, although legally in these places. The management is obliged to not only provide proper and appropriate noise protection equipment to all staff and workers working near the machines, but also to arrange for their hearing to be checked after a certain interval. But unfortunately, not a single penny of the profits earned by the workers is spent on their health and safety. Factories in most countries of the world have a working time limit of 8 hours with noise of 85 to 90 decibels and that too with ear protection devices. It is found up to 112 decibels and the working time in many places is 10 to 12 hours. That is, safety measures are almost non-existent. According to the information obtained from various sources, the traffic in many areas of Karachi produces 70 to 90 decibels of noise, while the noise limit for those traveling on these rides is from 100 to 120 decibels. The most common cause of noise is rickshaws and motorcycles without silencers. In addition, airplanes in areas close to airports produce the most dangerous levels of 140 decibels, which is not only painful for residents, but also deadly for hearing. More or less the same is true of those living near the railway line. In addition, low-pitched sounds in a closed room can be dangerous for hearing, although open-pitched sounds are not considered dangerous for hearing. Since the range of indoor sounds should not exceed 45 decibels. In addition, constant noise gradually causes hearing loss, so sudden explosions or sudden loud noises can cause instantaneous hearing loss. Are gone For example, people affected by shootings, firecrackers, incendiary devices or gas cylinder explosions suddenly and permanently lose their hearing completely or partially. Only then do a large number of people who have lost their hearing due to aerial firing or fireworks at weddings or happy occasions come for daily check-ups at the OPD.

Most people with deafness come from developing countries, where most diagnostic and treatment facilities are inadequate. Unfortunately, Pakistan is also on the list of countries where access to treatment is not a priority for both the government and the people. That is why a large number of deaf people suffer from hearing impairment throughout their life, although with timely and proper treatment they would be able to acquire the potential for hearing loss. Consult a specialist immediately if this happens. Keep in mind that the most important thing in maintaining the ability to hear for a long time is to prevent noise pollution. Hearing loss can be avoided in the future if care is taken and ear protection is given today. And this is possible only when awareness is raised at all levels about the importance of hearing protection. The World Health Organization (WHO) has also set a “safe hearing” theme for public awareness this year, to avoid unnecessary noise.

By: Dr. Atif Hafeez Siddiqui

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