Medical Monday Ear, Nose and Throat Awareness Month
PRESQUE ISLE, Maine (WAGM) -February is Pediatric ENT or Ear, Nose and Throat awareness month. While one of the most common reasons children see an ENT is for issues with their ears, especially ear infections, hearing loss is also on the rise. Dr. Kristina Manion, Physician of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery at Northern Light AR Gould says “There’s a new study that came out that’s presented by the ENT academy that 17% of teens age 12 to 19 have noise induced hearing loss.” Dr. Manion says one contributing factor to teens experiencing hearing loss is ear buds being warn for extended periods of time, both at home and at school. She says, “I’m definitely not an advocate for kids to wear over the ear headphones all day or in the ear ear buds all day for school work because the dramatic increase in pediatric hearing loss is pretty astounding right now and the direct cause would be noise induced.” Symptoms of hearing loss in children include ringing in ears, difficulty hearing noises, difficulty focusing in school or understanding what the teacher is saying. She adds that while kids are more likely to recover than adults, for some, this hearing loss will be permanent. Dr. Manion says, “I would say, it might get a little bit better if you decrease the noise over time, but then you kind of wonder, well what’s it going to look like when their 50 or 60.” Dr. Manion has some recommendations to help prevent further damage to the ear. She says, “Without a hearing deficit, there’s a lot of different criteria to look at in the American ideology association or the ENT academy, it’s the lowest volume that is comfortable for you. So, not extra loud, the lowest you can hear, which would be at least 50% of the total volume for less than an hour at a time.” She adds it’s important to also wear hearing protection if you are doing outside activities like snowmobiling or snow blowing. If you suspect your child may be experiencing hearing loss, Dr. Manion recommends seeing their primary health care provider.
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