Did You Know that March 3rd is World Hearing Day?
World Hearing Day is a day-long campaign by the World Health Organization (WHO) that focuses on spreading awareness of hearing defects and deafness, as well as sharing preventative strategies for maintaining “healthy hearing”.
As of 2020, it is estimated that over 5% of the world population (466 million people) suffer from a disabling hearing issue, and this statistic is projected to double in the next 20 years. Additionally, the WHO estimates that over 1 billion young adults are at permanent risk of hearing failure due to unsafe listening patterns daily (i.e. headphones, music, etc.). Thus, the WHO has dedicated this day to learn about such issues, and easy-to-follow steps that will help ensure that an individual’s hearing does not depreciate.
Therefore, to begin March with our “Did you know series”, we have decided to discuss preventive strategies as well as viable treatments (both from a Western and Eastern Background) to maintain healthy hearing! If you already employ these techniques, please take a moment, and share this article that others might find helpful!
Firstly, what is “deafness and hearing loss”? According to the World Health Organization, hearing loss is when an individual cannot hear over the threshold of 20 decibels in both ears (a sound quieter than a whisper), while deafness is the innate loss of hearing where no sound is audible. These deficiencies can arise from genetics, however, in the context of this article, we will be discussing hearing loss that occurs due to unknowingly mistreatment. These mistreatments can be due to untreated infections, unregulated noise over a period, smoking, ototoxic (medicines or drugs that can affect hearing) chemicals, and prolonged wax stoppage. For the full list of causes, please visit the World Health Organization website to view a full list that spans from birth into adulthood.
The preventative strategies that are commonly recommended are the converse of the causes. For example, an individual should monitor the amount and level of noise being heard every day, such as music through headphones, or in the car. High levels of noise through these methods are heavily present in the young adult communities and must be rectified by either reducing the noise or limiting the number of times the high noise is heard. If this lifestyle is still wanted, there are some external equipment, such as personal and permanent earplugs, to reduce the number of decibels experienced by an individual. Other ways to combat the loud noises are removing oneself from these environments, as well as allowing at least 18 hours of recovery if exposed to prolonged noises. Furthermore, it would be most prudent to get one’s hearing tested to discover the health of the hearing. Conversely, mindful meditation and yoga might suffice when controlling or transforming the mindset of wanting to experience loud noise in the first place.
Although the most common causes are already stated, sometimes hearing loss does occur and treatments must be administered. The western viewpoint of these treatments ranges from according to the varying degrees of severity. To start, a practitioner might advise the removal of ear wax, which can be completed in a single session. However, if this is not the issue, a practitioner will then recommend several other options depending on the symptoms. In cases of infections, an audiologist might insert small tubing to help assist in the draining of fluids from the ear. Often, in most cases, an audiologist will recommend a hearing aid to alleviate any discomfort. However, in severe cases, an audiologist will implement surgical procedures to alleviate the hearing loss. These procedures can be due to abnormalities in the eardrum or ossicle bones, or in the direst of cases, cochlear implants are used. These treatments all have risks and benefits and should be discussed with a practitioner. These western treatments do have validity and history, and ancient treatments from Eastern Medicine are gaining acceptance in the west “new” from the area of Ayurveda.
Ayurvedic Medicine addresses the whole person for healing, so it will take into consideration and choose methods of healing according to the constitution, age and condition of the person and look for root causes and best ways to remove them, as well as the nourishment and rejuvenation of the person afflicted, so typically treatments are in steps. Hearing has to do with the element of ether and air, or vata dosha, which we experience in the ears and on the skin, so oil applications are most beneficial along with addressing diet and lifestyle to balance vata dosha and it’s subdoshas of prana vayus which control movement and when impaired will affect the ears and the nervous system. In recent studies, Ayurvedic practitioners look to root causes of diseases and will often implement Karnapuran therapy to help combat Badhirya, or hearing loss. Karnapuran Therapy is the use of oils within the ear. These medicinal oils give all parts of the ear nourishment, including external ears, middle ear, inner ear, and eardrum, and can help combat multiple symptoms such as vertigo, tinnitus, swimmer’s ear, hearing loss, and reduce swelling due to infections. Ear wax can occur do to a imbalance of kapha dosha resulting from low agni or digestive capacity, so agni deepana and ama pachana or ways to improve digestive capacity and remove toxins are also addressed. Tinnitus or ringing in the ears is very common and can have multiple causes, so a skilled practitioner needs to determine the cause to make the correct recommendations. It can occur do to imbalances of vata, pitta or kapha dosha with issues of the nervous system, inflammation, the structure, congestion or allergies.
Please remember today, and every day, that the health of your ears does matter!
For more information and Ayurvedic Consultation and treatments, please visit https://chayaveda.com/
For hearing consultation visit https://www.clearsoundaudiology.com/services/
A list of more resources is linked below.
“Deafness and Hearing Loss.” World Health Organization, World Health Organization, https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/deafness-and-hearing-loss.
“Hearing Loss.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 16 Apr. 2021, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hearing-loss/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20373077.
Kotwal, Dr. Shweta, et al. “Concept of Lashunadi Taila Karnpooran as an Adjunctive in Treating Hearing Loss (Badhirya).” Journal of Ayurveda and Integrated Medical Sciences, https://jaims.in/jaims/article/view/832.
NHS Choices, NHS, https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-body/-5-ways-to-prevent-hearing-loss-/.
Victory, Joy. “Hearing Loss Treatment: What Are Your Options?” Healthy Hearing, 26 Apr. 2021, https://www.healthyhearing.com/help/hearing-loss/treatment#:~:text=Hearing%20loss%20treatment%20options&text=Hearing%20loss%20treatments%20include%20hearing,health%20conditions%20facing%20Americans%20today.
“World Hearing Day 2022.” World Health Organization, World Health Organization, https://www.who.int/campaigns/world-hearing-day/2022.