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Excessive use of cotton buds, self-medication increasing hearing loss in Nigeria – Medical Expert

By Chris Njoku

Dr Godwin Otu, a Senior Registrar in the Department of Ear Nose and Throat (ENT) at the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital has disclosed that excessive use of cotton buds was increasing hearing loss in the nation.

Otu who made the call while commemorating the World Hearing Day on Sunday in Calabar said self-medication was also another risk factor enhancing the condition.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that World Hearing Day is an annual event organised by the World Health Organisation (WHO) every March 3, to raise awareness about the prevention of hearing loss and promote ear care.

The theme of the celebration in 2024 is “changing mindset”.

The Senior Registrar said cotton buds don’t clean the ear because the wax in the ear doesn’t need cleaning, adding that naturally, the ear cleans itself.

He said ear wax was not dirt but a component that helps the ear to perform its function.

“When people keep using cotton buds, they push wax deeper into the ear and it becomes more impacted while causing problems for the ear.

“However if there is a need to remove wax because it is impacted, it should be done by a trained ENT personnel,” he said.

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Speaking further, Otu asserted that there was also the problem of abuse of drugs which increases hearing loss in society.

According to him, a lot of people go to pharmacies to buy drugs without a doctor’s prescription and some of these drugs have ingredients that can cause hearing loss, if not taken correctly.

He said the use of gadgets such as earpieces, earphones, ear-pods, Bluetooth devices among others was also a challenge, as using them for a long time had the capacity to destroy the ear.

“When you use these gadgets for a long time and abuse them, you are already obstructing the natural physiology of hearing and exposing yourself to hearing loss.

“While it is expedient today for people not to trivialise the importance of hearing and ear care, the nation should start making policies to regulate noise in the society,” he said.

He added that there should be a limit to the noise from religious organisations and social gatherings because it predisposes people to hearing loss.

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