Hearing loss is termed as Badhirya in Ayurvedic science. It is very uncomfortable ailment, disturbing the patient's daily routine. Previously, Hearing loss was considered as a disease of old age, but now it is entrapping the young and middle age group also .The factors responsible are noise trauma, changing life style, diet alterations and stressful & competitive life. How do we hear: Sound waves from the atmosphere enter the ear canal and vibrate the ear drum, which transmits the vibrations to the ear bones present in the middle part of the ear, their motion stimulates the sensory cells responsible for the hearing, in the internal part of the ear. The impulses generated as a result pass to the hearing centers in the brain via hearing nerves and this is how we hear. How hearing is affected: Continuous and prolonged exposure to high frequency and loud sounds cause injury to the sensory cells disrupting their functions and the person becomes hearing impaired. Sudden exposure to high intensity sounds as in blasts, gun shots cause damage to the ear drum, ear bones and sensory cells resulting in severe hearing loss which is irreversible. Infections due to viruses as in mumps, due to bacteria as in tuberculosis and metabolic disorders like diabetes, high blood pressure, thyroid dysfunctions also result in hearing loss. Persons who are under medications since long time are also prone to this ailment as many of the drugs are toxic to the sensory part of the ear. Pregnancy and lactating period: During these periods take place hormonal changes in the body which may affect the hearing system. Drug intake without supervision of the doctor during pregnancy affects the growth and development of the hearing system of the unborn and the baby born is deaf.
Aging: Aging is also one of the major factors responsible for hearing loss affecting majority of the public. Due to degenerative changes in old age, there occurs atrophy in the sensory cells and nerves, responsible for hearing. An old person becomes quite distressed because of his inability to understand the words spoken by others and intolerance to loud sounds. Nasal allergy, sinusitis, nasal polyp, recurrent nasal infections, adenoids and tonsillitis are other main factors responsible for hearing loss. In all these conditions, there is poor ventilation of the middle part of the ear. Proper ventilation is must for hearing mechanism which is achieved by auditory tube, connecting ear and phyranx.
Ayurvedic Management: Managing hearing loss is a great challenge but early initiative must be taken to control the factors. Persons suffering from noise induced hearing loss should avoid continuous and long exposure to noise and use ear protector, if they are working in noisy environments. During infectious conditions, prompt and timely checkup and treatment must be taken to prevent the irreversible damage by viruses and bacteria. Regular visits to the doctor should be made by diabetic, hypertensive and anemic patients. To prevent the malformation of hearing structures, pregnant women should avoid the use of drugs without medical consultation especially in first three months and should take the nutritious diet. Early diagnosis and management is very essential for the kids who are deaf by birth due to congenital malformations. Use of implants, hearing aids and plastic surgery helps them. Aged persons can get comfort by using hearing machines and nerve tonics. Nasal infections and allergy are to be prevented by the use of immune modulators to raise the immunity of the person. Persisting hearing loss due to these conditions is reversed by the use ventilation tubes.
How Ayurveda can help: Ayurveda can help a lot to prevent and control the hearing loss by use of herbs like Amla, Harar, Pipli , Ashwagandha, Shatawari, Madhuyashthi, Haridra, Giloy etc. Formulations like Sarivadi vati, Amlaki rasayana, Ashwgandha paka, Vardhman pipli, Laxmivilas rasa are very useful. Instillation of medicated oils like Anu taila in to the nostrils (nasya) and Bilwadi taila & sarshap taila in to the ears (karan purna) give very good results. But these procedures should be carried out under the supervision of an Ayurvedic expert only. In allergic conditions Haridra khanda, Chitraka haritiki and Kaishore gugglu may be used. Beside this medical management, one must go for yogic exercises and meditation there by oxygenating each and every cell of the body. Plenty of green vegetables, fruits, lot of water avoiding alcohol and smoking, good sleep and living a happy life induces a good hearing capability throughout life.
M.S Lecturer, Dept. shalakya tantra
Dayanand Ayurvedic College, Jalandhar