How to take care of children's hearing health in winter?


 

The ear is one of the organs most sensitive to cold, so its care during the winter months is essential, especially in children, who are more prone to diseases due to low temperatures or poor care of them.


Paula Rojas, academic of the Clinical Fields of UDLA, Viña del Mar Headquarters, comments that hearing plays a fundamental role in the emotional, social, and cognitive development of a child so that a mild hearing loss can affect their ability to speak and understand language, which can have consequences on learning.


In winter there are many variables that cause respiratory diseases in children, such as otitis media, triggering severe pain, irritability and even fluctuating hearing loss or hearing loss. In the smallest, the auditory tube, which is located in the middle ear, is anatomically more horizontal than in adults, so it allows microorganisms from the nasopharyngeal structures to reach the middle ear more easily, generating fluid inside the this, the one that sometimes comes out due to the rupture of the tympanic membrane, explains the speech therapist, who gives advice on how to take care of children's hearing health in winter.


Main cares

  • Protect children from sudden changes in temperature, freezing wind, and cold.

  • Strengthen the immune system, favoring a nutritious diet and physical activity.

  • Ventilate the spaces of the houses daily to promote air circulation.

  • Practice good communication habits, especially avoiding speaking in noisy places, so as not to strain your voice.

  • Avoid noise, since prolonged exposure to this type of environment can cause acoustic trauma, damaging the hair cells of the inner ear and causing hearing loss.

Cleaning the ears


Avoid introducing foreign objects into children's ear canal. The so-called “cotonitos” arise to clean only the pinna (ears) and not be inserted into the ear to extract wax. It is important to note that the latter is a protective barrier against water, lubricates the tissue of the external auditory canal, repels insects, and is slightly bacteriostatic (prevents the reproduction of bacteria). The ears tend to clean themselves by expelling the wax to the outside and there it can be collected by cleaning the pinna carefully. In the case of a cerumen plug forming, it is advisable not to introduce any object or apply substances without a medical prescription and to go to a speech therapist for evaluation (otoscopy) and subsequent washing of the clinical ear.


Face shield, voice, and hearing


Using the same mask for a long time without changing it allows the spread of other bacterial or viral infections, which can cause colds and otitis. In addition, the use of a mask, along with physical distance, attenuates the force with which the voice is projected, which causes the child to strain his voice, tightening the vocal cords and can be the cause of dysphonia. Difficulty in hearing can also occur in children with otitis media.


Use of hearing aids


With the virtualization of many activities, the use of hearing aids has increased in children and young students, who daily and for long hours use these devices to listen to their classes. Therefore, it is necessary to regulate its prolonged use, reducing it to the least possible and always ensuring that the sound volume is adequate. Prefer, if possible, traditional hearing aids over intracanal ones.

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