Does your job require you to be hooked to headphones for long hours? You are at high risk of noise induced hearing loss

Does your job require you to be hooked to headphones for long hours? You are at high risk of noise induced hearing loss

What is noise induced hearing loss and what are the causes?

Our inner ear contains tiny and delicate sensory hair cells which act as receptors for our hearing as well as balancing system. They are present in the cochlea of the inner ear and are responsible for amplifying and transforming the sound vibrations into electrical signals and relaying them to the brain. When these hair cells are subjected to loud noise they are permanently damaged and unlike many animals, human beings are not capable of regenerating these damaged cells resulting in a permanent loss of hearing.

Ear experts put the safe hearing threshold at 85 decibels which is as loud as heavy traffic or a window air conditioner. A brief exposure to noise beyond this limit can cause temporary threshold shifts where your hearing gets muffled temporarily and is restored in a few days. This is the body’s protective mechanism for brief exposures to loud noises at a loud club or a concert.

But your ears cannot protect themselves over prolonged periods of noise exposure leading to permanent and irreversible damage. If you are exposed to loud noise at a younger age, you may not see an immediate effect but have a more severe hearing loss when you get older.

Who is at risk of noise induced hearing loss?

Are you a working professional like a telemarketer, call center employee or an industrial worker who is exposed to constant noise as a part of your job? Chances are you are one among the billion people at a high risk of noise induced hearing loss. Hearing experts say more than 1 billion people in the age group of 12 to 35 are at risk or have already undergone some irreversible damage to their ears due to exposure to loud sounds. The worrying part is noise induced hearing loss creeps in gradually, you do not lose your hearing dramatically overnight but over a prolonged period. During this time your favorite music starts sounding dimmer, your family and friends find it difficult to communicate with you and it hits your lifestyle and confidence before you realize that it is too late! Once lost, hearing does not come back. In the case of hearing loss, prevention is the only cure.

What is the impact of hearing loss on productivity?

Hearing loss can have long term repercussions on an organization and chances are these may go unnoticed for a while.

  • Hearing loss can result in poor communication resulting in drop in work efficiency. This is especially critical in field and factory setups where such inefficiencies can critically impact operations.
  • Hearing impairment can also result in tasks taking longer, drop in employee job satisfaction and feeling of isolation.
  • Hearing loss if unaddressed can have long term cognitive impact and this can lead to social isolation and depression.
  • Hearing issues can also affect balance as human ear is responsible for maintaining balance. This may prove risky for jobs requiring physical activity and can prove fatal if neglected.

It is estimated that globally every year about $600 billion is lost due to unaddressed hearing issues which is a huge loss at an individual, organization and macro level.

How can organizations and employers address this issue?

The World Health Organization is seeking employers to proactively address occupational hearing loss through the following –

  • Increase awareness about hearing loss and provide means for hearing protection
  • Implement early detection and treatment programs through ENT Specialists such as Dr Rao’s ENT to nip the problems at early stages
  • Make ear and hearing care an integral part of the Employee Health & Safety program and make regular screening mandatory
  • Educate HR teams to spot early symptoms and provide with basic screening tools

Consult Dr Rao's ENT - India's Best Hearing Specialists

How Dr Rao’s ENT can help tackle noise induced hearing loss in your organization?

Early detection of hearing loss is crucial for effective treatment and to prevent further deterioration. Fortunately, we have at our disposal many tools which can help us evaluate your hearing from time to time. Dr Rao’s ENT can provide tailor made screening packages based on your workplace specific needs.


Sinusitis and Allergic Rhinitis - Impact on Workplace Productivity

How sinusitis & allergic rhinitis can impact workplace productivity

What is sinusitis and allergic rhinitis?

Sinusitis and allergic rhinitis are among the most common conditions affecting adults of various age groups. Patients with allergic rhinitis suffer from repetitive sneezing, nasal itching and congestion whereas patients with sinusitis suffer from pressure behind eyes & cheeks; runny, stuffy nose; thick mucus and in severe cases fever, cough and congestion. Chronic episodes of sinusitis can lead to severe loss in quality of life, reduction in workplace productivity and absenteeism.

What is the extent of sinusitis and allergic rhinitis impact on public?

Rhinitis and sinusitis are estimated to affect up to 25% of the population annually. Estimates put around 134 millions Indians suffer from chronic sinusitis whose symptoms include debilitating headaches, fever and nasal congestion and obstruction. Hence there is no doubt that the extent of sinusitis and allergic rhinitis cannot be underestimated and their impact should be minimized through timely and preventive medical intervention. Seasonal allergic rhinitis is also a common issue impacting 10-20% of the general population. Severe cases of allergic rhinitis can contribute to sinusitis and in some cases to asthma.

How can sinusitis and allergic rhinitis be managed?

Management of allergic rhinitis mainly involves avoidance of allergens. There are plenty of pharmacologic options available, and in appropriate cases allergen immunotherapy can also be recommended. Certain types of non-allergic rhinitis can be treated with necessary preventive measures and through medication. The most common form of Rhinosinusitis is caused by a viral illness that results in acute upper respiratory illness which lasts for less than approximately 7 days, whereas acute bacterial sinusitis can last more likely beyond 7 days and up to 2 weeks. In case of acute bacterial sinusitis, antibiotics are the mainstay treatment. Treatment of chronic sinusitis is less straightforward and our Sinus Specialist can do a more rigorous diagnosis before recommending the treatment plan. In certain cases surgical intervention may be required for sinusitis if the cause of sinusitis is nasal polyps or deviated septum. In such cases the economic impact could be even higher.

What are the direct and indirect costs of these conditions?

Both rhinitis and sinusitis can significantly decrease quality of life, aggravate comorbid
conditions, and require significant direct medical expenditures. Both conditions also create even greater indirect costs to society by causing lost work and school days and reduced workplace productivity and school learning.

Consult Dr Rao's ENT - India's Best Sinusitis Specialists

How can Dr Rao’s ENT help you and your organization with sinusitis and allergic rhinitis?

Sinusitis and allergic rhinitis are not deadly like diabetes or coronary problems but a prolonged and repetitive episodes can cause extreme pain & discomfort. If there are other health problems like asthma, things will go further downhill for your overall health. As elaborated above they impact your lifestyle, work and can lead to severe health complications in the future!

Dr Rao’s ENT can help your organization and employees with timely screening and early intervention to prevent the condition from becoming chronic or recurrent thereby minimising the losses at a personal and an organization level. Our Sinus Specialists can help with designing custom packages for your organization’s specific needs and employee profiles.


Sleep Apnea - How does it impact Workplace Safety?

Sleep Apnea and Workplace Safety

Why the quality of sleep is important for overall wellness?

Sleep is one of the critical elements in health where an average human spends a quarter to one third of a day in sleep. It is during this period that your mind and body recoups from the daily grind and recharges you for another productive day. Studies have shown how sleep deprivation affects all living organisms and lack of which impacts mood, ability to concentrate on tasks, daytime drowsiness & fatigue to more serious long term consequences such as increased risk of Type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
Lack of quality sleep could lead to unwanted events such as workplace accidents, industrial disasters, road accidents, etc., causing direct and indirect economic cost to both individuals and organizations. Lack of sleep impacts not just individual employees but also their teams and can lead to poor social relationships at work.

What is sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea is a major sleep disorder that is caused due to interruption of breathing during sleep. These interruptions are caused by blockage of the upper airway during sleep and result in shortage of air supply to your body leading to fatigue and disturbed sleep. Sleep apnea is caused by various reasons such as deviated nose, sinusitis, excess weight, obesity in adults and often due to enlarged tonsils and adenoids in children.

What is the economic impact of sleep apnea in terms of safety and productivity?

Though the negative effects of sleep apnea and other sleep disorders is well known and studied, the challenge lies in identifying and treatment as sleep disorders are often overlooked. A detailed study by American Journal of Health Promotion which studied nearly 600,000 employees across multiple industries discovered –

  • Employees who slept 5 or fewer hours per night missed an average of 1.5 times more days of work and had 1.9 times more productivity loss.
  • Employees who reported almost always feeling tired during the day missed an average of 2.7 times more days of work and had 4.4 times more productivity loss.

The more staggering finding was that nearly 30% of working adults reported having sleep issues and 10% complained of more chronic problems.

A study in the US estimated economic losses of $400 billion a year and equivalent of 1.23 million lost working days! At an organization level, the loss caused by sleep deprived fatigued employees was estimated between $1200 to $3100 per employee annually. Add to that additional $500,000 in healthcare costs arising due to sleep disorders. Looking at these numbers it is obvious that organizations should proactively help employees identify and treat sleep disorders as it can be extremely costly and even dangerous to both employees and employers.

How poor sleep impacts employee health?

The risks caused by lack of quality sleep are as follows –

  • Lack of attention and focus
  • Risk of falling asleep at work and in more dangerous situations like while driving or operating machinery in a factory environment
  • Lower productivity due to daytime drowsiness and fatigue
  • Increased risk of Type 2 Diabetes, Hypertension and Heart Disease
  • Depression, social isolation and loneliness in severe cases

Conversely quality sleep has been found to be directly linked to perceived overall wellbeing, job satisfaction, emotional stability and higher productivity.

How to diagnose employees with sleep apnea?

As an initial self screening, we would recommend a self assessment using our Epworth Sleepiness Index tool here. A thorough and more comprehensive diagnosis of sleep apnea is performed by in-lab polysomnography study or through an at-home sleep test. Dr Rao’s ENT is equipped with state of the art sleep lab to conduct these diagnostic tests.

Consult Dr Rao's ENT - India's Best Sleep Apnea Specialists

How Dr Rao’s ENT can help in treating sleep apnea?

As explained above, creating awareness of sleep disorders would be a good starting point as most people are not aware of these disorders due to which they often go unnoticed.

  • Create awareness about sleepiness in workplace. We can help understand its costs, causes and sleep apnea can lead to a higher rate of accidents and drop in productivity levels.
  • We can educate employees by providing strategies to improve sleep quality as part of a comprehensive employee wellness program.
  • We can diagnose the causes of sleepiness in the workplace and provide screening and treatment as part of Employee Health & Safety programs.


Occupational Vocal Health - An Emerging Employee Wellness Issue

Occupational Vocal Health - An Emerging Employee Wellness Issue

What is Vocal Health?

Millions of professions today are dependent on voice, a tool that we start using right from our birth and as we grow and some of our careers depend on this magical sound producing tool that resides in our throat which helps us talk, sing, communicate, sell and form human relationships. For a tool so important, we often take it for granted and rarely take care of it. From school teachers to sales executives, leaders to call center employees, the vast majority of our jobs today depend on our voices and neglecting them is turning out to be an occupational hazard.

Many of us may experience temporary bouts of voice issues such as having hoarseness and tiredness after prolonged sessions of speaking due to the demands of workplace such as a call center or teaching. Nipping voice problems early by regular care not only prevents further problems but also helps perform their job satisfactorily.

Whom does vocal health affect the most? Is vocal health an employee wellness issue?

Before we delve into the possible causes and precautions, it would help understand the professions that are most impacted.

First level include elite vocal performers such as singers, actors; second level encompasses professional users such as call center executives, teachers, marketers; third and fourth level users consist of doctors, lawyers, etc. A first level elite performer cancelling a show or concert due to voice issues may make headlines but the economic

impact of voice issues goes far beyond that. A 2001 study estimated that the annual cost of voice problems in teachers alone could amount to $2.5 billion. If we extrapolate this figure to other professions such as call center executives, marketers, etc., the impact could be staggering.

With these numbers and cross section of people impacted in perspective, it is quite obvious why vocal health should be a focus area for management of companies and why they should proactively take steps to reduce the economic impact of voice issues on their respective organizations.

What are the causes and factors aggravating vocal health problems?

The most common cause of vocal health problems is long lasting overuse or abuse of voice by subjecting vocal cords to high vocal load. This may lead to hoarseness initially and on continuous strain result in development of more serious issues such as benign vocal fold lesions that could end in voice impairment. Voice professionals have a high chance of upto 29.9% of suffering from voice disorders resulting in losing out at least 2% working days in a year. Severe vocal injuries that require surgical intervention could take weeks or months to heal and at times can cause permanent scarring that might prevent the voice from returning to normalcy.

If voice overuse is the key reason, there are many lifestyle and health issues that could be contributing to voice issues. Vocal attrition is seen to be significantly higher in smokers and furthermore in those leading a sedentary lifestyle. It also affects individuals suffering from sinus problems and those having frequent colds and dry mouth. If your job requires high voice usage and you rate high on any of the above risk factors, it is highly recommended that you approach a voice/ENT specialist for preventive screening.

What are the preventive measures that can be taken?

Maintaining vocal health is a constant process which needs to be followed religiously on a day to day basis. Prevention is always better than cure and following these measures can reduce your risk of voice related problems.

  • Cut down or stop smoking
  • Avoid excessive coughing or throat clearing
  • Use breathing mask or filter if your work environment is known for dust, allergens or irritants
  • Keep your larynx hydrated by consuming water at regular intervals
  • Avoid consuming alcohol and caffeinated drinks
  • Consume warm, non-caffeinated liquids after extended periods of voice use
  • Maintain physical fitness and get adequate rest every night
  • Keep an eye on your diet and spicy, acidic foods that could cause irritation to your vocal cords
  • If your job requires you to speak continuously, take short breaks to relax and hydrate
  • Avoid episodes of shouting or screaming especially in high noise areas
  • Maintain adequate humidity and ventilation in your home and workplace, if required use a steam vaporizer at night

How Dr Rao’s can help your organization with vocal health issues?

A growing body of voice research clearly shows the economic impact of voice issues and why it should be a focus area from an Employee Health and Safety perspective for organizations. Regular screening and early treatment can help both employees and employers in a significant way. Dr Rao’s ENT is happy to help your organization through awareness and screening camps, and through customized ENT packages based on your nature of work.

Consult Dr Rao's ENT - India's Best Voice Specialists for all your Voice Related Issues

Benefits for Employees

Understand the importance of preserving and enhancing the consistency and quality of their voice which is a key tool for communication through awareness and preventive measures. Prevent the loss of working days, illness and any financial implications caused by surgical intervention in severe cases.

Benefits for Employers

By proactively addressing voice related issues, employers will not only fulfil their obligations towards employee health and safety, but may also reduce losses due to days lost to illness.


Dr GVK Chaitanya Rao, best Sinus Doctor wins prestigious Vaidya Vibhushan Award for 2019

Dr GVK Chaitanya Rao, Managing Director Dr Rao's ENT and renowned Sinus Specialist, wins prestigious Vaidya Vibhushan Award 2019

Dr GVK Chaitanya Rao garu, Managing Director Dr Rao’s ENT and India’s best sinus specialist, wins prestigious Vaidya Vibhushan Award 2019 from Sri Eetela Rajender, hon’ble Health Minister of Telangana State.

Our founder and Chairman, Dr GVS Rao garu received the life time achievement award for his relentless service to the field of ENT for decades.

Speaking to the press on the occasion, Dr GVS Rao garu expressed his delight and said that Dr Rao’s ENT Super Specialty International Hospital is geared towards providing the best services in the field of Ear, Nose & Throat (ENT) and provides world class facilities to everyone. Dr Rao’s ENT has undertaken many social initiatives such as free camps to the needy and at government schools and is committed to serve the society going further.

The entire team of Dr Rao’s ENT is extremely proud of this achievement and takes up the responsibility to step up our services into the future.

Here are some excerpts from print media covering the award ceremony –

Some glimpses from the event –


"Ear, Nose, Throat, Head & Neck Problems - Your Questions" - by Dr GVS Rao - Book Launch by Honorable Minister Sri Etela Rajendar garu

"Ear, Nose, Throat, Head & Neck Problems - Your Questions" - by Dr GVS Rao - Book Launch by Honorable Minister Sri Etela Rajendar garu

“చెవి, ముక్కు, గొంతు, తల, మెడ సమస్యలు – మీ ప్రశ్నలు : మా సమాధానాలు by Dr GVS Rao ” – Book launch by honorable Minister for Health of Telangana State, Sri Etela Rajendar garu. Addressing the importance of early detection of ENT disorders and how their timely diagnosis and treatment can prevent major ENT problems in the future, the books answers a wide range of questions related to Ear, Nose, Throat and Neck related issues.

News Courtesy – TV5


Dr.Michael Strupp, renowned international Vertigo expert - Visit & Lecture at Dr Rao's ENT

Dr Michael Strupp, renowned Vertigo expert - Visit and lecture at Dr Rao's ENT

We are pleased to share about the visit of Dr. Michael Strupp, Professor, Dept of Neurology and Vertigo to Dr. Rao’s ENT Super Speciality International Hospital. Dr. Strupp is globally acclaimed for his pioneering work on vertigo with more than 350 publications in indexed journals.

We are happy to share that Dr. Strupp was very impressed with the Vertigo assessment setup at Dr. Rao’s ENT, the facilities and OT complex in the hospital and remarked that the setup is similar to a “UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL” in his country. He also mentioned that Dr. Rao’s ENT has an excellent OT setup to take up the first Vestibular Implant in India.

We are extremely excited that Dr. Strupp will be collaborating with Dr. Rao’s ENT from 2020 providing clinical and academic contributions. He would provide his professional services and conduct training programs in the fully equipped lab and academic floor available at Dr. Rao’s ENT premises.

About Dr Michael Strupp, MD, FRCP, FANA, FEAN
Department of Neurology and the German Center for Vertigo, Ludwig Maximilians University, Munich, Germany

Michael Strupp is Professor of Neurology and Clinical Neurophysiology at the University of Munich and the German Center for Vertigo at the University Hospital Munich, Germany. He studied medicine at the Technical University of Aachen, Germany and the University of Rochester, NY, USA.

His basic research interests included patch-clamp recordings with axons, muscle cells, glial cells and vestibular hair cells. Prof. Strupp’s current areas of interest are the diagnosis and pharmacotherapy of vestibular, ocular motor and cerebellar disorders such as Menière’s disease, acute unilateral vestibulopathy, vestibular paroxysmia, vestibular migraine, downbeat nystagmus and various forms of ataxia, with translational and reverse-translational research with animal models and imaging studies.

He is Editor-in-Chief of Frontiers in Neuro-otology, Joint Chief Editor of the Journal of Neurology, Section Editor of Faculty of 1000 (F1000) and a member of the Editorial Board of Neurology. He has received many clinical and scientific awards, including a Best Teacher award from the German Neurological Society and the Hallpike-Nylèn Prize, 2016. Prof. Strupp has been a Visiting Professor at the Universities of Graz, Austria, Prague, Czech Republic, Hong Kong, and Manila. He has currently authored 354 pubmed-listed papers and five books on vertigo, dizziness and ocular motor disorders.


yoga for ear nose throat problems

Yoga for ear, nose and throat problems

Yoga for ear, nose and throat problems

Does yoga help with ear, nose and throat problems such as snoring, tinnitus, vertigo and balance problems, etc?

There are a lot of articles and at times misinformation floating around about benefits of yoga for ear, nose and throat problems. In this article, we will try to validate and throw light on whether there are any real benefits of yoga for ear, nose and throat problems.

As we all know yoga is a combination of breathing control, meditation and specific body postures which are supposed to give various health benefits. Though yoga is said to have both physical and mental benefits we will stick to the physical and more specifically ENT benefits of yoga.

Yoga for Snoring and Sleep Apnea

Snoring is a very common issue and generally indicates a more serious problem such as sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder where breathing repeatedly stops and starts multiple times during sleep. If you feel sleepy even after a full night’s sleep, gasp for breath during sleep, snore loudly, wake up with a dry mouth, etc., chances are you are suffering from sleep apnea.

We prescribe a device called CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) for sleep apnea. In addition to CPAP, doing exercises which strengthen muscles around the airway would be helpful. Simple exercises such as – pushing your tongue against the roof and pushing backwards, forcing your tongue downwards against the floor of your mouth, etc would strengthen your airway. Similar exercises from yoga can be performed to achieve a similar benefit.

yoga for ear nose throat problems

Yoga for Tinnitus

tinnitus

Tinnitus is the perception of ringing in your ears which affects a lot of people. Tinnitus is a symptom and not an ENT condition in itself, we have a detailed explanation of what is Tinnitus, it’s causes, etc here.

Tinnitus could be caused by various reasons as explained in the article above, such as damage to cochlea, ear wax, ear infections, eustachian tube dysfunction, TMJ disorders, etc. Yoga cannot cure or heal any of these conditions but can make the ringing more bearable. Always consult an ENT specialist if you are suffering from Tinnitus.

Yoga and meditation can help with tinnitus by making you feel less anxious about the ringing sensation. You can also try other ways of relaxation such as tai-chi as recommended here.

Consult the best ENT Specialist in Hyderabad at Dr Rao's ENT for all your ENT conditions such as Tinnitus, Meniere's Disease, Snoring & Sleep Apnea

Yoga for Meniere's Disease

Meniere’s Disease is an inner ear condition characterized by vertigo (feeling of spinning around you), tinnitus and hearing loss. Patients who suffer from Meniere’s disease have attacks of dizziness, loss of balance, vomiting sensation, temporary deafness and ringing in the ears.

As in the case of tinnitus, yoga is not a cure for Meniere’s disease but can help overcome an attack. Along with medication, an ENT specialist may recommend relaxation techniques such as yoga and meditation for relief.


How do I choose a hearing aid

Do I need a hearing aid, how to choose a hearing aid and common hearing aid myths

Do I need a hearing aid? How to choose a hearing aid? Do I need one or two hearing aids?

Let’s accept it, despite the information available on the internet, wearing a hearing aid is still a social stigma in India. People associate it with a handicap and try means to delay using one even when need arises. Hence no wonder the most often asked questions about hearing aids are – “Do I need a hearing aid?”, “How do I choose the right hearing aids?” and “Do I need one or two hearing aids?”.

At Dr Rao’s ENT, our hearing experts get this questions regularly and we have put together detailed explanations for each of your common queries about hearing aids. We have also compiled a list of common hearing aid myths and tried to dispel them. Read on to have all your questions answered.

Do I need a hearing aid?

Let’s address the first and most obvious question that comes to everyone’s mind. Do I really need a hearing aid? Before we get to the answer, you may quickly glance another article here we have explained in detail about types of hearing loss, which types can hearing aids help with, how does a hearing aid function, etc here.

Now that you understand what are the types and severity levels of hearing loss, let us see if hearing aids can solve your hearing issue.

Hearing aids are suitable for

  1. Any hearing loss that may not be medically treatable
  2. Where a person suffering from hearing loss needs a compensation for reduced hearing, typically in cases of mild, moderate and severe hearing loss.
  3. Even in cases where your ENT specialist or Otolaryngologist may prescribe medicines for your hearing issue, hearing aids can augment your hearing and improve the quality of your life

Do I need a hearing aid?

How do I choose the right hearing aid?

Now that we have addressed “Do I need a hearing aid?”, let’s help you choose one. Choosing the right hearing aid can depend on various factors such as the type and severity of hearing loss, your age and budget. Your lifestyle also plays a role in the decision as some types of hearing aids may not be best suited for a working professional or an athlete. Know more here.

Do I need one or two hearing aids?

If you have hearing loss in both ears, we would recommend hearing aids for both ears. This would provide a more natural signal to your brain similar to how you would naturally hear if not for hearing loss. This would also help you understand speech better and identify the direction of sound.

How do I choose a hearing aid

How does our audiologist help you choose the right hearing aids?

Our hearing aid specialists will start off with a comprehensive test to determine the severity and type of your hearing loss. Based on this assessment the treatment plan would be recommended – medication, hearing aids or a combination of both. Your doctor would help you identify the right choice by discussing the following with you –

  1. Do I need a hearing aid? – We have answered this question here in detail but if you visit our hospital for a hearing aid, our hearing aid specialist will walk you through these questions, only in more detail and in a personalized fashion!
  2. Helping you understand how hearing aids function and how they would help you
  3. How to get used to hearing aids
  4. What features are available and which would be useful based on your lifestyle
  5. Customizing the hearing aids to suit your needs
  6. Choosing the hearing aids with respect to your budget

Consult the best Hearing Aid Specialists in Hyderabad at Dr Rao's ENT to have all your Hearing Aids related questions like "Do I need a hearing aid?", "how to choose a hearing aid?" and more answered.

Learning to listen with hearing aids

Unlike eye glasses hearing aids take some time and training to get used to. We will assist you with this process, so there is no need to worry. Common issues new users face is discomfort, voice sounding too loud, etc. Here are the common issues faced –

  1. The hearing aids feel uncomfortable – Since you would be wearing an external object for the first time in/on your ear, it is natural to feel minor discomfort.
  2. You hear background noises – If you hear background noises your hearing aid might have to be adjusted to properly filter out these noises. Our audiologists can help you with this.
  3. There is interference when speaking over the phone – This is possible due to radio frequency interference caused by cellular signals. We would recommend to check with your phone when purchasing a hearing aid.
  4. Your voice sounds too loud – If you have been suffering from impaired hearing for a while, even normal sound levels may sound loud. Most users get used over a period of time and in rare cases we will make necessary adjustments.

Common hearing aid myths

This is a very common misconception. Though chances of getting hearing loss increases naturally with age, they are prevalent across all age groups. Hence there is no reason to believe hearing aids are limited to old people. In fact, if you are a young or middle-aged person suffering from hearing loss, you have long years ahead of you.  Neglecting hearing loss in early stages can have an impact on the quality of your life and affect your mental health.

Just like we wear eye glasses for different power levels, hearing aids are also prescribed from mild to severe hearing loss. Let us look at a scenario where you maybe suffering from mild hearing loss. Due to your inability to hear properly you may crank up the volume of your music, television, etc., which would damage your hearing further. Hence it is always advised to nip the problem in the bud and use hearing aids to address even minor hearing loss.

With advances in technology hearing aids have become compact and discreet. Gone are the days when a hearing aid is that bulky banana like object sitting on your ear! Many hearing aid manufacturers are also coming up with colorful and fashionable models to suit your taste.

Modern hearing aids can be programmed and our audiologists will customize them accordingly. Advances in hearing aids allow custom presets for different scenarios allowing you to have control on your volume levels.

Hearing aids are available in a wide range of price points depending on the type and features. Feel free to discuss with our hearing aid specialists who can recommend the best option for your budget.

This is a common misconception which leads to some inconvenience. If you are suffering from hearing loss for a long period of time, we incrementally tweak your hearing aids so that you adjust easily. This may require follow up visits and adjustments. This is not due to faulty diagnosis or treatment but a way to help you get accustomed to your hearing aids.

Imagine you have been riding a bike/bicycle holding it with both hands and all of a sudden one of your hand is tied behind your back. You can manage to ride for some distance but you would end up putting unnecessary pressure on one hand and may end up tripping in the process. Similarly, our body works best when both ears complement each other and distribute the load. We would highly recommend to get a hearing assessment even if you have hearing loss in one ear. Neglecting it for long periods can impact the performance of the one functioning normally.

As explained above, it is not recommended. Our brains can better judge sounds and distances when both our ears are functioning normally and to full potential. Kindly discuss with our hearing specialists to understand the best way forward.

Which are the top hearing aids brands and styles to choose from?

Some of the top hearing aids brands in India are Widex, Sonova – Phonak & Unitron, Starkey, Elkon and Siemens. Book an appointment with us for comprehensive hearing assessment and assistance in buying the optimum hearing aids.


Hearing Aids in India

Hearing Aids - What they are, how they function, types and more

Hearing Aids - What they are, how they work, types and more

When we think of a Hearing Aid we visualize a bulky banana shaped case sitting behind the ear. Truth is hearing aids have come a long way from that and are now more discreet, stylish and even feature rich. In this article we will explain in detail what is a Hearing Aid, what is it’s function in helping those suffering from hearing loss, types of hearing aids and more.

How does a Hearing Aid work?

A hearing aid comprises of the following components –

Microphone – The microphone captures the sound around you and converts it into a digital message which is sent to the processor. There are different types of microphones such as directional or omni-directional, the directional ones pick up sounds only in front of the wearer whereas the omni-directional mic captures all around.

Processor & amplifier – The processor is customized by our audiologist to amplify certain sounds and remove others. Generally, the processor is programmed to enhance speech and eliminate background noises. The processed digital signal is then sent to the amplifier. The amplifier as its name states, amplifies or makes the sounds louder for the impaired person.

Receiver – These amplified sounds are then sent to the ear by the receiver. The earpiece sits comfortably in the user’s ear and helps receive the highest quality of sound!

Battery – Your hearing aid may come with either disposable or rechargeable batteries. The disposable batteries generally last upto 2 weeks whereas the internal ones are charged overnight just like your phone.

What are the types of hearing loss?

Before going to whether you need a hearing aid, it is important to ascertain what is the type and severity of your hearing loss. The different types of hearing loss are –

Conductive – When something is preventing/blocking sound from reaching your inner ear through outer or middle ear

Sensorineural – When your inner ear is damaged such as cochlea

Mixed – When you have a combination of cochlear damage and outer/middle ear problem

We have a detailed article on FAQs on hearing loss and deafness, do check out the article here.

degree of hearing loss

Image courtesy – US FDA

How severe is my hearing loss?

Hearing loss is measured in decibels hearing level or dB HL. The hearing loss level indicates the softest level of sound you can hear. The lower your limit the better is your hearing and the more severe your hearing loss, the louder sounds you are unable to hear!

0-20 dB HL – Within normal limits
This is the normal hearing which we all should aspire for! You are able to hear quiet sounds as low as 20 decibels.

20-40 dB HL – Mild hearing loss
You have mild hearing loss, i.e., you find it difficult to follow speech in noisy situations.

40-70 dB HL – Moderate hearing loss
If you are suffering from moderate hearing loss, you have difficulty following others speak without a hearing aid.

70-90 dB HL – Severe hearing loss
70 dB is the typical noise level of a passenger car or vacuum cleaner. If you are suffering from severe hearing loss, you need a powerful hearing aid or an implant!

>90 dB HL – Profound hearing loss
Your hearing is badly damaged and you have to rely on sign language or lip reading.

What are the benefits of wearing hearing aids?

Hearing aids go way beyond just improving your hearing. Poor hearing is known to have profound impact on your social life, mental health and various other aspects of your life. Here are the top 3 ways hearing aids will benefit you other than improving your hearing –

  1. We humans are social animals and hearing and speaking form the core activities of our social interactions. Once our hearing is affected, it directly impacts our social interactions and as a result we end up feeling isolated, lonely and frustrated. Using a hearing aid can help you overcome this and get back to your normal social life.
  2. Hearing aids help reduce anxiety, tension and stress. When your hearing is damaged, your brain has to put additional effort trying to understand conversations and this causes fatigue leading to anxiety, tension, stress and poor mental health. A hearing aid takes this stress off your brain and prevents lasting damage to your mental health.
  3. Researchers have found hearing loss to be associated with cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and more. Diabetics are at a higher risk of getting hearing loss and it is highly recommended for patients suffering from diabetes to have regular hearing screening.

What are some limitations of hearing aids?

Hearing aids go a long way in solving hearing impairment but they have their own limitations like any other device. Here are a few limitations to keep in mind before going for hearing aids –

  1. Hearing aids do not restore normal hearing, as we have explained in this article, the cilia in your ear cannot be repaired once damaged. Hearing aids can only augment your hearing but cannot repair or restore it.
  2. Hearing aids especially analog ones, amplify sound and this can cause background noise and undesired sounds also to hear louder. This is an unwanted consequence which is addressed by modern, digital hearing aids which are capable of process and filter noises.
  3. You need to get accustomed to using hearing aids and until that period sounds may appear too loud, especially after a prolonged period when you were unable to hear properly.
  4. Battery life, maintenance and replacement maybe a minor limitation which users get used to.

Consult the best Hearing Specialists in Hyderabad at Dr Rao's ENT Super Speciality International Hospital

What are the different types of hearing aids?

There are mainly two types of hearing aids –

  1. Analog hearing aids convert sound waves into electrical signals which are then amplified. These are programmed by our audiologist to suit your individual needs and different settings for various environments. Analog hearing aids are generally less expensive than digital ones and are simpler to use.
  2. Digital hearing aids converts sound to digital signals which are processed, filtered, amplified and delivered to your ears. Digital hearing aids are generally more expensive as they are more customizable and offer better features. They are also more compact and more powerful than their analog counterparts.

In terms of design, hearing aids are classified as

  1. Canal – These come in 2 types – In-the-canal (ITC) and completely-in-canal (CIC). ITC hearing aids fit inside your specific ear canal whereas CIC hearing aids are smaller and hidden completely in your ear. Canal type hearing aids are best suited for mild to severe hearing loss. They are not suited for kids or senior citizens who might have difficulty adjusting to small devices in their ears.
  2. In the ear – These hearing aids fit completely inside your outer ear and are best suited for mild to severe hearing loss. The electronic components are placed in a casing which sits on your outer ear. These are not suitable for children as their ears are still growing in size.
  3. Behind the ear – In Behind the ear hearing aids the components are in a hard case which sits behind your ear and a narrow tube goes into your ear canal. They are suitable for all ages and severity levels. Behind the ear hearing aids may not be discreet at times

Newer hearing aids come with additional features such as noise control & reduction, rechargeable batteries, wireless connectivity with cell phones, variable programming, etc.

Found this article about Hearing aids useful? Check out our article on Do I need a hearing aid? How do I choose the right hearing aid? and more here.

hearing aids

Image courtesy – Wikimedia


hearing loss and deafness

A Guide to Healthy Hearing - FAQs about Hearing Loss and Deafness

Everything about Hearing Loss and Deafness

There is a lot of stigma attached to Hearing Loss and Deafness because of which it is not discussed often. It is treated like any other disability and often individuals suffering from hearing loss & deafness are looked down upon making them feel uncomfortable to discuss the topic freely.

Educating people about the causes, risks and treatment options available, helps clear this air. Hence we at Dr Rao’s ENT have compiled a list of commonly asked questions (FAQs) associated with hearing loss.

hearing loss and deafness

Am I at a risk of hearing loss and deafness?

While anyone can suffer from hearing loss & deafness, you would be more susceptible if you –

  • are 60 years or older
  • work in noisy environments
    • such as a factory or a production facility, security or police
    • or you are a BPO employee where you are constantly hooked to headphones
  • take medicines that may damage your hearing
  • regularly consume loud music for more than 1 hour every day (read more here about hearing loss due to poor listening practices)

How do I know if I have hearing loss?

If you have hearing loss the first people to notice would be your family and friends! Do you ask people around you to repeat themselves? Do your friends complain that you are speaking louder than normal in recent times? Do you find trouble in hearing others in slightly noisy situations or in a group? Chances are you are suffering from partial hearing loss.

Can hearing loss effect my health?

Hearing loss & deafness may not have a direct impact on your other health aspects but can have a huge impact on your lifestyle and relationships. It is generally noticed that individuals suffering from undetected hearing loss tend to isolate themselves from their family and friends. Hearing is a critical function which is key in all our day to day activities and any loss of hearing will directly hamper our activities. This includes everything from our conversations to driving to work and studies.

Does listening to loud music damage my hearing?

Hearing loss caused due to continuous exposure to loud music is becoming a major epidemic. With rising smartphone usage, WHO estimates 1.1 billion people in the age group of 12-35 are susceptible to hearing loss due to poor listening practices.

It is advised to follow the 60/60 rule to prevent hearing loss caused due to loud music – i.e., do not listening to music for more than 60 minutes at more than 60% of volume. Read more here.

How can I test my hearing?

Prevention is always better than cure and it is always advised to constantly check your hearing to ensure it is detected at early stages. Fortunately, we have apps such as hearWHO at our disposal which allow regular screening of our hearing, you can download the app here.

When should I consult an ENT specialist for hearing screening?

  • If you are over 60 years, we recommend a compulsory hearing screening.
  • You may experience temporary hearing loss due to exposure to loud noises, but if the hearing loss stays for longer periods you should visit a hearing specialist.
  • If your family and friends are constantly complaining about your hearing, you can conduct an initial screening using the app above and if your result is Moderate or above visit an ENT specialist.

What would be the tests performed to diagnose hearing loss and deafness?

Your ENT specialist such as Dr Rao’s ENT would perform the following tests to ascertain your hearing issue –

  • Physical examination – A physical examination would help your doctor identify the cause of hearing loss, whether it is because of wax blockage, due to any structural reasons, or any ear infections.
  • General screening tests – Your ENT specialist may perform whisper test to see how well you are able to hear words spoken at different volumes. This is an initial test based on which the doctor will decide if a more comprehensive audiometer test is required.
  • Tuning fork tests – Your doctor can perform a simple tuning fork test to evaluate the extent and location of damage in your ear.
  • Audiometer tests – These tests are performed by an audiologist where you would wear earphones and hear sounds at various levels. These are very comprehensive tests and your ENT specialist would recommend the further course of treatment based on audiometer results.

If my hearing is indeed damaged, should I wear a hearing aid?

There is a lot of stigma attached to the usage of hearing aids and we understand your concern. Short answer would be no. Depending on the extent and cause of your hearing loss we would recommend the appropriate course of treatment. Sometimes temporary hearing loss maybe caused due to wax blockage and removing the blockage can resolve your hearing issue. At times a surgery may be recommended, or a cochlear implant.

Is hearing loss and deafness reversible?

Hearing loss is caused due to damage to your cilia (these are tiny, sensitive hair present in your ear that transmit sounds to your brain) and auditory nerve. This damage is unfortunately irreversible which is why we highly recommend following safe hearing practices and undergo regular screening tests to prevent hearing loss. Depending on the extent and cause of hearing loss, hearing aids, cochlear implants or surgery can treat your hearing loss.

Consult the best Hearing Specialists in Hyderabad at Dr Rao's ENT Super Speciality International Hospital


Smoking & tobacco consumption - Ear, nose & throat (ENT) issues

no smoking ear nose throat issues

Consumption of tobacco products and smoking is responsible for over 1 million deaths every year in India, according to the World Health Organization. Smoking and tobacco consumption is the single largest cause of various diseases such as cardiovascular disease and Ear, Nose & Throat problems such as aggravating sinusitis, head and neck cancers, hearing loss, ear infections, etc. At Dr Rao’s ENT we not only specialize in bringing world class ENT treatment to India but also sensitize patients about various health topics. On the occasion of World No Tobacco Day, we have compiled a comprehensive list of ENT conditions caused by the consumption of tobacco products.

"Tobacco kills more than 1 million people each year in India!"

Does tobacco consumption cause head and neck cancers?

Tobacco is one of the leading causes of mouth and voice box cancers. Typically oral, head and neck cancers refer to carcinoma of the tongue, mouth, throat and voice box. Head and neck cancer also refer to other types of cancers of the nasal cavity, sinuses, thyroid glands, etc. What makes tobacco consumption fatal is 66% of the cases are detected in very late stages of cancer thereby increasing it’s fatality. Cigarette smoking increases the risk of head and neck cancer by 15 times! Most of these cancers can be prevented simply by staying away from smoking and other forms of tobacco consumption.

How does smoking affect your sinuses?

One of the reasons why smoking is deadly is that it affects all the parts which it gets into contact right from your lips to lungs. Membranes in your sinuses are a protective mechanism for your respiratory system and keep you safe from airborne particulate matter, bacteria, etc thanks to cilia which are hair like structures present in the sinuses. Smoking affects these cilia causing sinus infections, allergic reactions, etc. In cases of regular smoking, you may develop chronic sinusitis. Also if you are planning to undergo sinus surgery, chances are you may not get the expected results due to smoking!

Does smoking cause hearing loss and ear infections?

Smoking and nicotine affect the health of your inner ear which may lead to hearing loss! Cigarette smoke interferes with the neurotransmitters which are responsible for your hearing. They are also responsible for irritating the Eustachian tube and lining of the middle ear. As a result your ear becomes susceptible to infections, sensitive to loud noises and in the long term to hearing loss! Though smoking may directly not cause Tinnitus, it has been observed that smokers are more susceptible to tinnitus than non-smokers. For preserving your hearing, it is highly recommended to stay away from tobacco.

Smoking irritates and damages the sensitive tissues in the ear, nose and throat exposing them to different infections. Smoking reduces your overall immunity thereby making you vulnerable to contract infections. Even if you are not a smoker, second hand smoke or passive smoking can also lead to numerous health problems including ear, nose and throat infections.

Does cigarette smoke cause allergy?

Cigarette smoke contains several harmful irritants and leads to allergic rhinitis. Smoking and exposure to passive smoking can cause symptoms such as headache, watery eyes, sneezing, itchiness, and other allergy symptoms. Children are more sensitive to passive smoking and allergic symptoms are triggered more easily.

What are the other non-cancerous ENT problems caused by smoking and tobacco consumption?

If the list of fatal, cancerous problems caused by smoking and tobacco consumption was not enough to scare you, here is a list of non-cancerous ENT problems caused by smoking –

Say NO to tobacco!

It is well known that tobacco consumption and smoking is a major cause of cardio-vascular and a long list of ear, nose, throat related issues. If you are a smoker or consume tobacco in any form, it is never too late to quit the habit. The costs – economic and physical far outweigh the pleasure smokers gain from the habit. Another point to remember is you are affecting your family and friends as well, as they are constantly exposed to second-hand smoke. Tobacco consumption is a ticking time bomb! This World No Tobacco day let us pledge to give up tobacco products and preserve our health for years to come.