Coronavirus Pandemic

UAE doctors see rise in hearing issues due to headphone use in Covid-19 era

Nandini Sircar/Dubai
Filed on November 17, 2020 | Last updated on November 17, 2020 at 11.45 pm
Alamy image used for illustrative purpose

Medics urged parents to keep kids' headphone volumes in check during online classes.

Doctors in the UAE have recently observed a rise in the number of students complaining about hearing problems, and they believe this could be attributed it to long hours of headphone use in the time of Covid-19.

The medics have urged parents to keep their kids’ hearing protected as they sit for online classes for hours, with their head sets on. Video chats with friends and relatives, as well as games and entertainment, are other factors that increase children’s reliance on earphones.

An ENT specialist in Dubai warned that listening to headphone audio that is too loud and for too long may result in permanent hearing damage.

“Although there is no obvious statistic report commenting on this, we see that approximately five to 10 per cent of kids are experiencing difficulties due to excessive usage of headphones or ear buds,” said Dr Prashant Sharma, an ENT specialist at Prime Hospital, Dubai.

“Prolonged use of headphones definitely has a detrimental effect on the ears across all ages, especially with kids. They may not be aware that phones also emit electromagnetic radiations with prolonged usage on high volumes and can damage hair cells and lead to sensorineural deafness.”

Dr Sharma added that headset use may also lead to “ear wax and debris entrapment and, because of this, the normal migratory pattern of ear canal skin gets hampered further adding to hearing deficit”.

Dr Shyam Anil Pai, an ENT surgeon specialist at Aster Clinic, Al Nahda, Dubai, said this meant earphone usage could also lead to an increase in ear infections.

“Use of ear phones increases one’s chances of getting ear infections (mainly fungal) as they are placed directly into the ear canals. They block the passage of air and with sweat formation, increases the chances of ear infections and hence affect hearing,” Dr Pai explained.

“If earphones are used at high volumes for prolonged periods and over several days, it can cause tinnitus (ringing sound in ear). There is also the possibility of noise-induced deafness, where the affected person would not be able to hear properly at certain frequencies.”

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