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Singer Alka Yagnik reports rare hearing loss caused by viral infection: What are the symptoms and what should you know? | Health and Wellness News

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It's hard to imagine that popular singer Alka Yagnik, who lives with the sound of music, is suffering from hearing loss. She revealed on her social media profile that she is suffering from a condition called sensorineural deafness, writing, “My doctors have diagnosed a rare hearing loss of the sensory nerves, which is due to a viral attack… This sudden, severe setback has caught me completely off guard. As I try to cope, please pray for me.”

Sensorineural hearing loss is a type of hearing loss that occurs due to damage to the inner ear, the origin of the nerve that leads from the ear to the brain, called the auditory nerve. “In fact, many people should know that this season, many people with viral flu are suffering from this condition. Every year, the flu season has certain dominant features. This year, it is hearing loss. This can be cured if you inform your ENT doctor within a week, preferably 48 hours. Otherwise, the damage can be permanent,” says Dr Kalpana Nagpal, senior consultant, ENT, head and neck surgery and robotic surgery, Indraprastha Apollo Hospital, New Delhi.

What is sensorineural deafness and what is the difference?

The ear is made up of outer, middle and inner structures. When you respond to sounds, your eardrum vibrates, which moves three small bones in your middle ear. These conduct the sound to the cochlea, a fluid-filled chamber in your inner ear. The cochlea is lined with tiny hairs that vibrate when sound waves hit them. These hairs convert the sound waves into an electrical signal that is sent to the brain.

When your outer or middle ear is damaged or has other problems, these affect the eardrum or small bones. This is called external hearing loss. Sensorineural hearing loss is caused by a problem in the inner ear. The tiny hair cells that conduct sound through the ear cannot function properly due to damage or a viral infection. The problem is made worse because the stem cells in the ear cannot repair the damaged layer as quickly.

Deafness due to damage to the outer or middle ear can be cured. However, a nerve problem in the inner ear may not be cured if not treated promptly.

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What are the causes of this disease?

Yagnik is a viral infection. It can also be triggered by meningitis, mumps and measles. Other causes can be injuries to the ear or head or exposure to very loud noises or sounds over a long period of time.

What are the signs and symptoms?

Your hearing deteriorates dramatically or you can't hear anything at all. You may see other people's mouths moving but can barely make out their words in coherence. It may sound like they are mumbling something. Sometimes you have a ringing or buzzing in your ear. I would say if you experience numbness in your ear or decreased hearing, see a doctor immediately.

What does the treatment look like?

Viral infections cause edema and swelling in the inner ear and even the salivary glands. If the patient comes back to us within a week, we administer steroid injections into the eardrum to improve hearing and relieve the edema. If the damage is permanent, there are solutions such as hearing aids that can amplify sounds near you or cochlear implants.

What can be done to prevent it?

Since we live with more aggressive forms of flu every year, try to avoid getting infected. Wear a mask in public places and get an annual flu shot. And wear good earplugs to protect yourself from hearing loss from external sources.