In childhood, 60% of hearing loss is due to causes such as otitis, congenital complications, and recreational sound exposure. In Otorhinolaryngology (ENT) of the National Children’s Hospital (HNN) around 300 consultations are attended per year for hearing problems.
Dr. Federico Murillo, specialist doctor of the ENT Service of the HNN, assures that there is an increase in the consultation of children that is related to the implementation of hearing screening, which has caused an increase in users of hearing aids and implants cochlear. However, he assures that they are anticipating an impact on the consultation for noise damage in the coming years.
That is why it is about informing with preventive measures now, since in a few years the reflection of these bad habits will be seen, both in children and adults. According to figures issued by the World Health Organization (WHO), it is estimated that, in 2050, more than 900 million people will suffer from disabling hearing loss; this translates to 1 in 10 people.
Prevention is the key
Dr. Olga Arguedas and Dr. Federico Murillo, specialists from the National Children’s Hospital. According to Dr. Murillo, “exposure to loud noise causes progressive and irreversible hearing loss. This damage is similar to premature aging of the ears and can be prevented. In children, 60% of hearing loss is due to causes such as ear infections and congenital complications, as well as unsafe listening practices associated with recreational sound exposure. For this reason, it is vital to monitor the noise that children are exposed to with electronic games, music, movies, etc., whether with headphones or without them, the exposure time and volume should be regulated”.
Main recommendations to prevent hearing loss, especially in children and young people:
• Give opportune treatment of infantile otitis.
• Limit the use of hearing aids to no more than 2 hours a day.
• Regulate the volume of the devices to a maximum of 60%. There are devices that have an application to limit the volume.
• Protect yourself from exposure to loud noise at parties and concerts.
Screening for hearing loss in newborns
Early detection of hearing loss is essential for the rehabilitation of minors with these conditions. For this reason, it is very important that newborns undergo hearing screening before discharge from hospital. In the event that this first screening fails, parents must ensure that they do not miss the follow-up appointment.
“In young children, in case of doubt from family members or teachers, a professional hearing evaluation should be requested without delay and regardless of age. All children with cognitive problems, language delay and learning problems should have a complete hearing evaluation by qualified professionals”, said Evelyn Cruz, audiologist at the HNN ENT Service.
Is there a relationship between hearing loss and Covid-19 vaccines?
According to information from MedPage Today, a study was conducted on the possible association between sudden sensorineural hearing loss and vaccines against Covid-19. This study found no association as did another study in Israel published in JAMA Otolaryngology. This latest study suggests a slightly increased risk of sudden sensorineural hearing loss after an injection of Pfizer-BioNTech (Comirnaty).
“Together, these 2 studies involving nearly 200 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine suggest that further investigation of the potential association between the Covid-19 vaccine and sudden sensorineural hearing loss may be warranted”, Dr. Angela wrote. Ulrich, of the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, and co-authors in an editorial in Jama.
For his part, Dr. Murillo has not seen any case of vaccinated patients associated with sudden hearing loss in the country.