Doctors are now seeing more patients complaining of pain, irritation and infection in the ears as professionals continue to work from home and students attend classes online using earphones due to COVID-19.
According to medical experts, such complaints have risen over the past seven to eight months due to the use of headphones and earbuds for long hours.
“All these complaints are directly linked to extensive use of headphones at higher volume. Most of them are working for more than eight hours wearing headphones. This is putting a lot of stress on their ears and unsterilized earbuds or ear-plugs could spread infection. Continuous listening at higher sound volume for long hours is weakening the listening ability also,” doctors said.
They warn that “if people do not change their habits, they could face permanent damage to their ears.”
It is the wax within the ear that naturally destroys the bacteria and avoids infection. Therefore, the use of cotton buds to clean ears eliminates this protective wax covering and exposes the inner part of the ear to bacterial infections. This is what contributes to earaches generally.
Experts recommend that earphones should be removed from time-to-time as fresh air can go into the ears and keep them safe.
Children are at risk too
Recently it has been reported that ear concerns are no longer just related to working adults, but school kids who have to take online classes also have such complaints.
“Ideally, school children should not use headphones at all and even if they attend classes on laptop or personal computers the volume of the device itself is enough,” say experts. If school-going students wear headphones with a sound louder than 60 decibels, their hearing power could be impaired.
Hence, the doctors fear that there will be a large number of students complaining about hearing difficulties once schools resume.
Individuals are unaware of the etiquettes of how to communicate on phone conversations, conference calls and video conferences and use loud noise on headphones.
Experts also warn of psychological complications as adults with exposure to loud sound for a longer period report being anxious and short-tempered.
Take care of your ears
- Practice maintaining a low volume at which you can hear comfortably.
- Prefer headphones over the earbuds as the distance from sound to eardrum may be minimal between headphones and earbuds, but it’s crucial in the long run.
- Go for noise-cancelling headphones.
- Take listening breaks. Try taking a 5-minute break every 30 minutes or a 10-minute break every 60 minutes.
- Set a volume limit. Most phones warn you when you try to increase volume beyond a limit. Try and follow a personal limit on all devices.
- Keep track of children’s listening habits and make them understand the ill effects of listening at high volumes