YES! one of the most important special senses in our body is hearing.
Here is a surprising fact that unlike other senses this particular sense starts contributing to brain development even when the child is still in the womb! Let’s see its importance from the beginning.
Your baby can hear you in the womb! – according to Mahabharata, the great epic from India Abhimanyu could listen to his mother Subhadra while he was still in the womb. There is this story that says when Lord Krishna was explaining to Subhadra about how to break or get out of the Chakravyuha (military technique during that time) she fell asleep but Abhimanyu kept listening to it.
This tells us the importance of hearing since ancient times. Your brain development depends on the senses and inputs it gets from the outer world.
Today on world hearing day let’s understand the importance of hearing.
In the womb, around 8-9 weeks of pregnancy fetus develops small bud-like structures along its neck which further differentiate into ears. Around the 18th week of pregnancy evidently, the baby can appreciate sounds which starts the process of hearing which increases day by day, to an extent that the baby starts responding to your sounds by the time it’s 26 weeks.
These facts have been researched so widely that there is even music or sounds CDs or contents to be played near pregnant women, and are claimed to improve your baby’s brain development.
Importance of hearing
- Hearing is important for brain development, your brain processes sound and use them for development and learning.
- Hearing makes you interactive, it’s important to maintain relationships in the family and outside.
- Hearing is important for participating in different life events.
- Hearing makes you able to enjoy one of the most important and beautiful aspects of life, music.
- Hearing is essential to keep you out of danger, you must have heard or read about accidents on the road related to people who were using headphones or loud car music or were deaf.
How does hearing works?
Your ear is divided into three parts, outer, middle, and inner ear. Your eardrum is the partition between the outer and middle ear, and it conducts sound to bones that are present in the middle ear. From there the sound is conducted to the inner ear which has a special organ cochlea that changes this mechanical sound to electrical signals and then these are carried to the brain via a wire-like structure called the auditory nerve.
Your brain has different subdivisions to distribute sound for further development.
Sound or music can be so influential that how you feel can totally change depending on the type of music you are listening to.
What is hearing loss?
Now as mentioned earlier depending on the problem hearing loss has been categorized into three types-
- Conductive- when there is a problem in the conduction of sound from your pinna till anywhere to your inner ear.
- Sensory-neural- when there is a problem in sound conduction when eardrums and bones are fine but inner ear and or brain is not getting the sound.
- Mixed- when both co-exist.
Reasons for hearing loss-
- Ear blockage- when ear canals get blocked due to wax or other substances.
- Eardrum damage due to hole or infection
- Ear bones or ossicle damage, like in ossicular discontinuity after accident or otosclerosis (a disease where your ear bone gets fused to the inner ear)
- Aging or neural weakness.
- Trauma due to loud sounds.
- Other ear conditions like manières disease, drug toxicity, viral infections, sudden hearing loss, etc.
Care for your ears and hearing
- Avoid loud sound exposure, wear protective hearing objects like ear gear or earplugs.
- Never use swabs or sharp objects for ear cleaning
- Get a hearing test done in case you feel your hearing is impaired
- Avoid being in or frequent visits to places where sound is loud like construction sites, airports, racing, shooting, etc.
- Keep a watch on the volume of your TV or headphones
- Always take medicines as prescribed by your doctor as few might impair your hearing if not taken properly.
- Keep a watch on your blood sugar levels in case you are a diabetic. In diabetes, your nerve gets affected fast and may result in hearing loss.
- Always goes to a professional like an ENT doctor for any ear, nose, or throat-related issue.
Management of hearing loss
Is it not always necessary to wear hearing aids for every type of hearing loss? Few types of hearing loss can be easily managed with drugs and precautions or minor OPD procedures for the ear. So better to get yourself diagnosed for your hearing loss and take appropriate measures. Your doctor may advise any of the below-mentioned options for hearing loss-
1. Ear cleaning for wax etc.
2. Medicines to improve nerve weakness
3. Hearing aid
4. Steroid injections into eardrum for sudden onset hearing loss
5. Hyperbaric oxygen treatment
6. Eardrum surgery like tympanoplasty
7. Ear bone surgery like stapedectomy or stapedotomy
8. Cochlear implant
9. Brainstem implant
Get yourself checked for any early hearing loss as it is easy to manage any early hearing loss without surgery and hearing aids.
Protect your hearing
On world hearing day 2022 let’s celebrate the WHO theme “To hear for life, listen with care! ”