Revolutionize your hearing | Daily News

Revolutionize your hearing

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), there are 466 million individuals in the world with disabling hearing loss (6.1% of the world’s population). As many as 432 million (93%) of them are adults, 34 million (7%) are children and approximately one-third of persons over 65 years are affected by disabling hearing loss. A Ministry of Health study shows that 9 per cent of Sri Lanka’s total population suffers from some sort of hearing disorder.

Committed to raising awareness about how awareness and timely treatment can improve the lives of the hearing impaired, Lanka Hospitals Consultant ENT Specialist, Dr. Devanand Jha, said, “Most of us have no problem in wearing and accepting spectacles for vision problems, so why do we feel uncomfortable about acknowledging a hearing impairment? There should be no stigma or taboo attached because there are treatments and cures to resolve the problem.”

Dr. Jha is emphatic about the fact that people should not accept reduced hearing with advanced age as a ‘normal’ part of growing old, because they can experience a better quality of life with hearing aids. “Depending on the causes of the impairment, a range of solutions are available both medical and surgical. However, patients must consult an ENT doctor no sooner they experienced reduced hearing as we have to treat the patient within a ‘golden period’ when the impairment can be corrected with intervention. A delay in having it attended to could result in permanent loss of hearing,” he added.

Several factors can cause hearing loss and impairment. In adults, some of the main causes of hearing impairment and loss are aging and exposure to loud noises. Side-effects from certain diseases such as mumps can also cause ear infections and earwax and lead to hearing impairment if not treated in time. Furthermore, ear infections can directly affect the brain and cause many serious health complications.

“Mostly, loss of hearing at a later age is due to multifactorial reasons, which means it could be acquired through ear infections, tumors or via otospongiosis (A genetic condition in which patients progressively lose hearing), or even caused by external noises, orprescribed medication that is toxic to the ear. In some cases, the pregnant woman may have contracted an infection which affects hearing in the fetus. Even the common cold and fluid accumulation are silent causes of hearing losses if left untreated,” Dr. Jha explained.

When it comes to medical solutions, cochlear implants, often referred to as the modern miracle of the 21st century, can bring about dramatic improvement in hearing, while other procedures such as draining fluid in the ear and stapedectomy are gratifying surgeries as patients report a remarkable improvement in hearing, he avers.

In terms of pediatrics, there are ranges of tests, which can be conducted right from the time of birth onwards to ensure there is no hearing impairment. “We can intervene with cochlear implant surgery to make a hearing impaired born deaf child into an absolutely normal child who can achieve anything in life! I have personally carried out approximately 100 surgeries like this and the results are dramatic,” he said.

Powered by a relentless drive for innovation, Oticon has since been at the forefront of technology that improves the lives of people with hearing loss. One of the drawbacks of conventional hearing devices has been the high pitched whistling sound or auditory feedback experienced by patients when they remove the device. The OticonOpn S has corrected this with its ability to detect and prevent annoying whistling sounds before they even occur. “This has resulted in enhancing the quality of hearing in adults by as much as 30 per cent and better hearing in children by 25 per cent. I see OticonOpn S as a revolution in hearing aids,” he added.

One of the leading ENT surgeons in the country for the last 15 years, Dr. Jha elaborates on his experience of working with Vision Care Hearing Solutions over this period, saying: “Vision Care treats clients well in terms of post-sale service which is exemplary. Moreover, what I appreciate is that once you refer a patient to them for fitting for a hearing aid, they give a detailed report on the tests done and how the patient responded to the device and so on, which is very helpful.”

Dr. Jha avers that hearing aids or hearing devices are the single-biggest weapons to resolve hearing impairment in many cases. “There is no danger to health in using hearing aids but what I would like to stress here is that your audiologist will recommend the best device for your particular hearing problem. The aim should not be the smallest hearing device but the one that suits your hearing and lifestyle needs,” he pointed out.

Lanka Hospitals Consultant ENT Specialist, Dr. Devanand Jha


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