This week’s Hearing International features guest authors from the Department of Audiology and Speech Language Pathology, Amity Medical School, Amity University Haryana, Gurgaon, India. Archana Dass, Himanshu Kumar Sanju, and Arun Kumar Yadav have conducted an interesting study of young adults and their exposure to noise and other environmental sounds that could lead to hearing loss. The following is their report………RMT
We live in an environment and continuously interact with it, adapting ourselves to conditions in the environment. We enjoy its assets that is chirping of birds, rustling of leaves, sound of waterfall and gentle breeze. Hearing is a wonderful sense which permit us to enjoy environmental sounds, music, speech of our loved ones.
Hearing triggers the initiation of relationship between mother and baby as early as 3 months of gestational age long before birth. The complex cognitive behavioral aspect of hearing, that is listening is critical for the acquisition and expansion of speech-language and communication skills in individuals with intact auditory mechanism. Hearing helps us to connect with the people and environment and it also protect by alarming us of probable hazard.
Auditory mechanism and common cause of hearing loss
The auditory system is responsible for the hearing, listening and understanding of speech and environmental sounds. It comprises of peripheral (outer, middle and inner ear) and central mechanism (auditory nerve, brainstem and auditory cortex). Structural and functional deficit in any one or more components can restrict our auditory system to receive essential information from the environment. Allied health professional dealing with hearing loss are called audiologist. The common causes of hearing loss are genetic predisposition, chronic and recurrent ear infections, ototoxicity, long term noise exposure and aging effecting large number of pediatric and geriatric population.
Risk for Lifestyle Induced Hearing Loss
Young adults may expose themselves to modern lifestyle habits without any regard to the consequences. The cumulative effect of various factors such as continuous exposure to noisy environment, listening to loud music through earphone/headphone, regular visit to the music concert, riding of bullet, smoking, drinking, drug addiction, swimming are few of the major lifestyles among youngsters which can put them at the risk for acquiring a lifestyle induced hearing loss. An add on to the above-mentioned risk conditions, are the factors such as lack of awareness about hearing protection devices and intentionally avoiding their use to protect their hearing. Previous research has revealed that modern lifestyle habits among youngsters are risk factors for hearing loss.
Recently, faculty of the audiology department of Amity University Haryana conducted a questionnaire based cross-sectional study in Gurugram, having 412 healthy participants (205 males and 207 females) in the age range of 17 to 25 years. The team of audiologists had given a Lifestyle Induced Hearing Loss Risk Questionnaire (LIHLRQ) to participants. It was administered under the close supervision of qualified audiologists. Participants were given 15-20 minutes of time duration to fill in all sections of LIHRQ.
The questionnaire with 28 questions was categorized into three sections i.e. Noise Exposure (NE), Lifestyle and Auditory Health Belief (LAHB) and Ear Related Medical History (ERMH). Among a total of 412 participants in the present study, only 1.21% falls under no risk category, whereas 54.61% and 39.56% falls under mild and moderate risk category respectively. The percentage of population falls under high risk was 4.61% (figure 1). The outcome of the current study showed that almost half of the total young participants were at mild risk of lifestyle induced hearing loss and approximately 40% of the participants were at moderate risk of lifestyle induced hearing loss. Though the risk of hearing problem is mild in 50% of the participants, it is an alarming sign which suggest the early occurrence of peripheral and central auditory deficits later. Hearing loss can become a disabling condition when left untreated and unidentified causing a lot of trouble in social connectivity and meaningful communication which in turn effect psychological well-being and work productivity.
Figure 2 represents percentage of lifestyle related hearing loss risk factors among youth in the four risk categories. The finding of present investigation showed an urgent need to educate youth at risk of lifestyle induced hearing loss. The outcome of present study also revealed that most of the participants were
Strategies to prevent lifestyle induced hearing loss
The suggested strategies to adopt healthy lifestyle involves listening to sounds and music at 60% of the maximum volume, using hearing protection device while swimming and in context like attending music concert and loud environment. Avoiding smoking, alcohol and illicit drug consumption and riding noisy vehicle like bullet. Prevention measures also include regular hearing evaluation at least once a year by a qualified hearing care professional (audiologist) because prevention is better than cure.
Dass, A., Sanju, H. K. & Kumar, A. K. (2018). Are younger adults at risk of lifestyle induced hearing loss. Journal of pollution control and effect. (Article in Press).
Dass and Sanju are Assistant Professors of Audiology and Speech Language Pathology and Yadav is Clinical Instructor, Department of Audiology and Speech Language Pathology, Amity Medical School, Amity University Haryana, Gurgaon, India. Hearing International would like to thank them for their interesting research and their submission to Hearing international