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Regular habits that can lead to hearing loss

Regular habits that can lead to hearing loss

Knowingly or unknowingly, almost all of us sabotage our hearing with the things we do on a daily basis. Though not all hearing problems are caused by poor and unhealthy habits, these do play a major role in disrupting the mechanism that allows you to hear. As per the top ENT doctors in Kolkata, it is very important to stick to lifestyle changes that help to protect and strengthen your hearing mechanism and at the same time refrain from habits that can drastically impact it.

In this blog, we have listed some common habits that can lead to hearing loss, with the help of the best ENT specialist in Kolkata.

Exposure to loud noises and sounds – Love listening to your favourite songs with headphones on? Well, it might seem fun but you cannot simply ignore the fact that this habit of yours is actually damaging your ears. Overexposure to loud noises is one of the major culprits behind hearing loss. These can damage the tiny hair cells that are present inside your ears and responsible for converting sounds you hear into signals that can be interpreted by your brain. Excessive use of headphones and earbuds makes your ears vulnerable to damage. So it is very important to limit the amount of time you spend with these on.

Working without ear protection – Not every job calls for the need to wear ear protection, however, certain industries like mining, manufacturing, transportation, carpentry and plumbing can expose you to loud noises that can cause severe hearing damage. People working in such industries are prone to hearing loss and need to wear ear protection or safety headphones on a daily basis. Even when you go out in crowded areas, try to use earplugs, so as to decrease the intensity and volume of unwanted noises.

Stagnant Lifestyle – You must be wondering how a stagnant lifestyle is linked to hearing loss. Well, being inactive promotes obesity which happens to be the leading cause of many chronic health conditions like diabetes and heart diseases. These problems can dramatically impact the circulatory system and interfere with the normal flow of blood to various organs of your body including your ears, thereby increasing the risks of hearing loss. Hence, it is very important to keep your weight under check to negate the risks of various chronic diseases. You can easily do this by eating healthy and indulging in physical activities every now and then.

Smoking – If you are counting the harmful effects of smoking, you should definitely add hearing loss to your list. Smoking can impact your health in a number of ways. Cigarette smoke consists of around 7000 different chemicals, some of which have the potential of damaging your ears. So here is one more reason for you to give up the habit and quit smoking.

Excessive alcohol consumption – Some cherries have suggested that long term drinking can interfere with your brain’s ability to interpret sound signals. Drinking in moderate amounts is fine but if you are a binge drinker, with the habit of drinking more than two glasses in a day, you need to get rid of your addiction. Experts from the best hospital in Kolkata also lay a lot of emphasis on the same.

Poor oral hygiene – Unhealthy teeth and gums impact your body in ways that you cannot even imagine. The bacteria present in your oral cavity can invade the bloodline and infect the blood, thereby resulting in poor circulation. This disrupts the flow of oxygenated blood to the ears and makes you more vulnerable to hearing issues. It is very important to note these harmful habits and work on getting rid of them to lower the risks of hearing problems.

How to Find the Best ENT specialist in Kolkata?

How to Find the Best ENT specialist in Kolkata?

ENT – Ear, Nose and Throat specialist is a doctor with expertise in diagnosing and treating conditions affecting any of the three organs. Ear, nose and throat of the human body are connected through various tubes and passages that make a very complex network. Since these organs are interconnected and often a problem in one affects the other, they are treated by the same medical professional known as an ENT specialist or an otolaryngologist.

An ENT specialist diagnosis and treats diseases, injuries, infections and various other medical issues related to the ear, nose and throat. Some of the common problems treated by an ENT specialist include:

  • Infections of the ear nose and throat
  • Hearing loss
  • Trouble with balance
  • Tonsillitis
  • Dizziness
  • Asthma
  • Allergy
  • Deviated Septum
  • Hair loss
  • Nose bleeds
  • Nasal congestion
  • Smell problems
  • Cleft palate
  • Breathing problems
  • Swimmer’s ear
  • Nerve problems of the ear, nose and throat
  • Problems in swallowing or drinking
  • Vocal issues
  • Strep Throat
  • Sinusitis
  • Infections and tumours of the head and neck
  • Snoring issue
  • Obstructive sleep apnea

An ENT specialist or an otolaryngologist obtains specialised training in the branch of medical science called otolaryngology. Otolaryngology involves diagnosing and treating issues related to the below organs:

  • Ears: Including infections, allergies, hearing disorders, and others
  • Nose: Including chronic sinusitis, nasal cavity problems, allergies, issues of smell, nasal congestion, etc.
  • Throat: Problems concerning the laryngeal and upper esophageal, including vocal problems, swallowing issues, and others

That said, some ENT specialists also obtain specialised expertise in treating specific issues related to the face, head and neck. Some problems that come under the purview of an ENT specialist include infections, trauma, injury, deformities and tumour. That said, for many of these issues, a multi-speciality approach may be needed.

Common procedures performed by an ENT specialist

Some of the common procedures performed by an ENT specialist to cure issues concerning the ear, nose and throat include:

Blepharoplasty: An ENT specialist conducts this surgical procedure to repair dropping eyelids. In this procedure, the ENT doctor removes the excess skin, muscle or tissue surrounding the eyelid. It helps to improve vision and aesthetic appeal.

Endoscope Sinus Surgery: An ENT doctor also treats infectious and inflammatory sinus problems by using a flexible instrument known as an endoscope. The endoscope is inserted inside the nose to see the sinus. The doctor then uses various surgical instruments, such as laser, to remove the blockage from the nose. 

Biopsy: An ENT specialist also performs a biopsy where he/she collects a piece of tissue from the concerned organ to check for the presence of cancer, tumour or any other abnormal growth.

Plastic Surgery: An ENT specialist also performs plastic surgery to improve the aesthetic appearance of any of the three organs such as ears, nose and throat. The surgery can be done for reconstructive or cosmetic purposes. But most ENT specialists require specialised training for this. These surgeries are performed in cases of cleft palates, congenital deformities, accident scars, etc.

Myringotomy and pressure equalization (PE): ENT doctors use this method to treat patients that experience an ear infection very frequently or cannot hear due to build-up of excessive fluid in the ear canal. The ENT doctor passes a tube through the eardrum to release the pressure, enabling the patient to hear properly.

Septoplasty: This is a surgery performed by an ENT specialist to correct a deviated septum or to provide more access to the nose to remove polyps. In a septoplasty, the ENT doctor separates the nasal passage from the nearby cartilage and the corrects the diverged septum.

Surgery for sleep-related issues: Sleep-related problems such as snoring, obstructive sleep apnea, and others are also treated by an ENT doctor. These are treated first with medications and then with surgery. For snoring, the ENT specialist removes the excess soft palate tissue, permitting smooth functioning of the airway. In other cases, the ENT specialist can also inject the palate or place rods to make the tissue stiffer and reduce the vibration.

Thyroid Surgery: An ENT specialist is also trained to cure thyroid issues by removing a part of the entire thyroid gland, as needed. This method is usually used to treat thyroid cancer, abnormal lumps, obstruction of the esophagus, etc.

Tonsillectomy: In this surgery, the ENT specialist removes the tonsils or the troubling adenoids to cure the resulting infection and breathing problems.

Tracheostomy: This procedure is performed by an ENT specialist by inserting a tube through the neck to access the windpipe to open an airway or remove the lung secretions. 

How to find the best ENT specialist in Kolkata?

For someone who is experiencing any ENT related problems, it is best to consult an ENT specialist at the earliest. The following steps can help to find the best ENT specialist:

  • Understand symptoms
  • Make an exhaustive list of ENT specialists in Kolkata through Google search. Dedicated platforms such as Practo, Justdial, etc. 
  • Narrow the list based on several parameters to select the best one per needs. These criteria include private practice vs. hospital, years of experience, patients treated, referrals, speciality treatments, etc. 
  • Assess the experience and knowledge of the ENT specialist based on factors such as years of experience, expertise, speciality treatments, number of patients, successful referrals, education, licences, certifications, etc.
  • Know the hospital and check the credentials of the facility
  • Call the ENT specialist and get an appointment

These steps can help find a good ENT specialist in Kolkata. That said, trusted options such as highly qualified ENT specialists in CMRI (Calcutta Medical Research Institute) can provide expert care for all issues related to the ear, nose and throat. CMRI has experienced and accomplished ENT doctors and offers best-in-class facilities with unparalleled patient experience.

Epley Maneuver

An Epley maneuver is a form of exercise, which can be performed at home to relieve dizziness because of benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV). BPPV is a condition that occurs when calcium crystals known as canaliths accumulate in the semi-circular canals of the inner ear. These crystals eventually get dislodged and start to move around, sending sensations to the body that the world is spinning or moving too fast. This particular sensation issue is also medically called vertigo.

Epley maneuver helps to remove these accumulated crystals from the semi-circular canals. This form of home exercise is very beneficial for patients suffering from BPPV. More so, in cases, where some specific head movements tend to cause severe vertigo. Epley maneuver is very beneficial for people of all ages and usually relieves symptoms immediately. But in some cases, the exercise might need to be practised for a longer time to be able to heal the issue.

How to perform an Epley maneuver?

A person who wants to perform Epley maneuver himself or herself can follow these simple steps below. The below steps are particular for patients that have a problem in the left ear. However, for people with an issue in the right ear, the steps remain the same, but their head needs to turn in the opposite direction.

Step 1: Sit up on the bed and place your legs flat on the bed right in front of you. Once in position, turn your head 45 degrees to the left.

Step 2: Lie down slowly, while keeping the head in the left direction, and hold the stance for 30 seconds.

Step 3: Post this, turnthe head to 90 degrees right, till the time it is at 45 degrees to that side. This posture needs to be held for 30 seconds.

Step 4: Release and rollover on the right side before sitting right up

How to gain maximum benefits from an Epley maneuver?

Since the success of this form of treatment is dependent on the correctness of the posture, it is advisable to perform the exercise for the first time under the guidance or supervision of the health care provider. They can assist in ensuring you correctly perform the exercise and get relief at the earliest.

In most cases, the symptoms are relieved almost immediately after performing an Epley maneuver. However, in some cases, the technique would need to be performed again. For some patients, it is advised to do the Epley maneuver thrice before going to sleep. This is suggested so that even if a person experiences vertigo or dizziness after the exercise, sleeping can help with the issue and allow the patient to rest.

In all, even though the Epley maneuver has shown improvement in patients suffering from BPPV but it is not as effective in other forms of vertigo. Hence, while an Epley maneuver is considered a safe exercise for all types of patients, it is advisable to still ask the doctor before going ahead.

Also, in case the patient has the following issues, the doctor must be consulted before doing the exercise:

  • Disease or injury in the neck or back
  • Vascular conditions
  • Retinal detachment

What if the symptoms don’t improve?

In case, if the patient still feels dizzy after the Epley maneuver, it is important to consult a doctor at the earliest. The healthcare provider can check your postures in the exercises and the steps followed to help your correct your form and reduce the symptoms. In other cases, the doctor can also provide alternate treatment methods to treat the issue.

An alternate form of treatment for Epley maneuver is also canalith repositioning maneuver. In this, a certain type of head and body movement can help to remove the crystals from the canal of the inner ear and push it a different part of the ear, where the body of the patient can absorb it easily.

In some cases, the doctor can also recommend nausea or motion sickness medications to treat the symptoms. Also, since the Epley maneuver can only treat BPPV cases, it would be wise to check with the doctor, if the dizziness, nausea, etc. is because of another underlying condition such as anaemia, migraine, or an ear infection.

How needs an Epley maneuver?

As specified, a person suffering from symptoms of BPPV will need to perform an Epley maneuver to treat the issue. Some of the common symptoms of BPPV include:

  • Incoming and outgoing vertigo upon certain head movements. This typically lasts for a minute.
  • Nausea and vomiting

Most often, BPPV an occur without a specific underlying cause. However, in other cases, there may be issues, such as below, causing BPPV:

  • An injury to the head
  • After-effects of the ear surgery

Overall, an Epley maneuver is very safe and can be effectively performed at home to treat patients suffering from BPPV. The confirmation of BPPV will be made by a physical exam and based on the medical history of the patient. In some severe cases, the healthcare provider can also recommend a vestibular therapist to treat the issue.

The doctor will first perform the procedure in front of the patient, allowing them to learn the right technique and postures. Usually, it is very effective in the first time itself. However, for other cases, the patient might need to revisit the doctor if the symptoms continue even after the exercise.

Ear Infection – Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, And Treatment

Ear infections can occur in both children and adults, usually in the middle ear – the sections of your ear behind the eardrum. However, children are more prone to ear infection risks than adults.

Ear infections are caused by either virus or bacterial infections. These often result in fluid buildup, inflammation, and pain. But most ear infections become better without any treatment.

Below, we take a closer look at the symptoms, causes, diagnosis, and treatment of ear infections.

What are ear infections?

An ear infection is a virus or bacterial infection of the middle ear – an air-filled space located behind the eardrum that uses vibrating bones to convert sound into signals that your brain can understand. An ear infection often causes inflammation and excessive fluid buildup. This increases the pressure on the eardrum causing pain.

Moreover, ear infections are either chronic or acute. Chronic ear infections are more serious as they can permanently damage the inner and middle ear.

Ear infections are primarily of three types.

  • Acute otitis media (AOM): This is one of the most common forms of ear infection. In AOM, your middle ear becomes swollen due to infection, with fluid trapped behind the eardrum. You may experience a fever if you have AOM.
  • Otitis media with effusion (OME): Also called serous or secretory otitis media, OME infection occurs when non-infected fluid collects in the middle-ear space. Liquid can collect as a result of a sore throat, cold, or upper respiratory infection. However, you may not experience any symptoms.
  • Chronic otitis media with effusion (COME): This form of ear infection occurs when fluid stays in the ear for extended periods or keeps returning. COME infections often reduce your ability to fight new ear infections. As a result, you can face hearing difficulties.

Signs and symptoms

The symptoms of ear infections differ in adults and children. However, earache is common in both. Symptoms can persist or recur from time to time. The symptoms of chronic ear infections are more noticeable than acute ear infections.

For adults, ear infections are super painful, often dull, sharp, or burning. They can experience a constant pressure, reduced hearing, or fluid drainage from the ear. Other symptoms can include dizziness and vertigo.

As for children, ear infection symptoms can vary a lot. Children may experience:

  • Fever
  • Lack of appetite
  • Loss of balance
  • Pus-like ear drainage
  • Ear tugging
  • Sleeping difficulties
  • Irritability or fussiness
  • headache

If children younger than 6 months experience fever or ear infection symptoms, consult a doctor immediately. Also, if your child has severe ear pain or fever above 39 degrees Celsius for more than 24 hours.

Causes of ear infection

An ear infection often results from the flu, colds, or allergic reactions as they cause swelling and congestion in the neck and throat. In fact, ear infections are more common in the fall or winter season when these illnesses upsurge. As the increased mucus in the sinuses blocks the eustachian tubes.

Anatomically speaking, eustachian tubes are small tubes that connect the middle ear to the nasal passage in the back of the throat. If eustachian tubes are blocked, they become swollen and inflamed. This causes fluids to buildup in the ear and put pressure on the eardrum.

Additionally, eustachian tubes can become swollen because of inflamed adenoids – they are pads of tissues located at the start of the eustachian tubes and the back of the nasal cavity. Adenoids can trap passing bacteria or viruses and cause an ear infection.


Ear infections can be diagnosed with symptoms alone. However, to make sure, your doctor will examine your ear using an otoscope – an instrument with an attached light and magnifying glass. An otoscope can help the doctor to find:

  • If the eardrum appears swollen or red
  • Pus-like fluid buildup behind the eardrum
  • A perforation in the eardrum
  • A bulging or collapsed eardrum

In addition, your doctor may use a tool called pneumatic otoscope to blow air at the eardrum. This is done to check if your eardrum can move properly. If not, there may be fluid buildup in the eardrum which is preventing its normal movements.

And if your ear infection has advanced, your doctor may sample the fluid inside your ear to perform follow-up tests.


Most mild ear infections usually clear up without any treatment. As a result, the focus of ear infection treatments is on the pain management. Medicines like eardrops, ibuprofen, or acetaminophen are used to control the earache and fever. However, your doctor can also recommend antibiotics if the symptoms are prolonged or severe.

Infants below the age of 6 months often need antibiotic treatment to curb the infection spread. As for children older than 2 years, doctors usually avoid antibiotics as the overuse of antibiotics can cause antibiotic resistance. Following this, it becomes difficult to treat serious ear infections.

However, if the medical treatments are not effective or you have large adenoids, you may need surgery to clear the fluid buildup.

Allergic Rhinitis

Allergic rhinitis is also medically known as hay fever. This condition occurs when the human body sends a response to different allergens, found outdoors and indoors. Some common types of allergens include pollen, the salvia of cats, tiny skin particles of fur animals (including dogs and cats), dust mites, and others.

Allergic rhinitis makes the person very uncomfortable and leads to symptoms including cold, running nose, itchy and red eyes, nasal congestion, frequent sneezing and sinus pressure. But the problem is not caused because of a virus. It is the body’s allergic response to irritants and allergens. Hay fever or allergic rhinitis can affect people of all ages and make people, mostly children, feel uncomfortable, ill and also impact the overall quality of life. It can even take a toll on the performance of people at work or school.

Hay fever or allergic rhinitis can be cured with adequate treatment, precautions and by avoiding triggers such as staying away from allergens.

Symptoms of Allergic Rhinitis

Allergic rhinitis displays symptoms similar to a normal cold. Some of the common symptoms of hay fever include:

  • Runny nose
  • Congestion
  • Sneezing
  • Red, watery or itchy eyes (generally because of the allergens)
  • Cough
  • Fatigue and nausea
  • Postnasal drip
  • Itching in the nose, in the roof of the mouth or the throat
  • Swelling and discolouration of the skin under the eyes

The above symptoms and some others can appear or get worse at a specific time of the year. Some of those times in a year include:  

  • Early spring during the tree pollen time
  • Late spring or summer that leads to grass pollen
  • The season of fall when there is the presence of ragweed pollen

That said, dust mites, fur animals, cockroaches can cause allergic rhinitis throughout the year. But signs can worsen in case of dander during winters, more so when the houses are completely closed. Moreover, fungi spores can also activate this issue all-year around.

Usually, hay fever or allergic rhinitis gets cured on its own as soon as the person reduces or removes his exposure to the allergen. But in cases, where the condition carries on even after not being exposed to the allergen or gets worse with new symptoms, the patient must see a doctor immediately.

Some conditions that signify a need for immediate medical attention include:

  • Persistent and worsening symptoms of hay fever even after no contact with the allergens.
  • Hay fever gets worsened with time and no medications have been able to provide any relief to the condition
  • Other health issues including sinus infections, chronic asthma, and others tend to worsen symptoms.

Difference between Allergic Rhinitis and the Common Cold

Hay fever or allergic rhinitis is often confused as cold since its symptoms are similar to that of the latter. But both are very different from each other. Some of the significant differences between these two conditions include:

  • Allergic rhinitis causes a runny nose and leads to a water-like discharge but without any fever. However, in case of a common cold, a person usually experiences mild-fever and has runny nose coupled with a thick, yellowish discharge.
  • Allergic rhinitis usually happens immediately when a person is exposed to allergens. However, a common cold occurs after 2-3 days of exposure to the virus.
  • Allergic rhinitis continues till the time a person is exposed to allergens. It rarely continues after the exposure has ended. However, the common take almost three to seven days to pass.

Causes of Allergic Rhinitis

Allergic rhinitis occurs when a person is exposed to allergens. These allergens, mostly non-harmful airborne substance, are treated by the body’s immune system as harmful. In response to which, the body starts to make antibodies to prevent the airborne element. Hence, every time a person comes in contact with the same allergen, the preventive antibodies send a signal to the immune system to release a chemical, called histamine, in the blood. This production of chemical leads to a reaction in the body and produces symptoms of allergic rhinitis.

Risk Factors of Allergic Rhinitis

As mentioned, allergic rhinitis can happen to any person at any age. That said, some factors increase the risk of a person being affected by hay fever more than others:

  • People that have other allergies or health conditions such as asthma
  • People who have eczema
  • People whose parents and siblings, or other close family relative has a history of allergies
  • Children whose mother smoked during the first year of their life
  • People who live, work or are exposed to areas that have high allergens
  • A child whose mother smoked during the first year of his/her life

Complications of Allergic Rhinitis

Allergic rhinitis usually goes away on its own when the contact with allergens is removed. However, if the condition does not improve, it can cause the below complications:

  • Allergic rhinitis can interfere with the quality of life and make the person less productive. It also restricts people from enjoying life to the fullest.
  • Allergic rhinitis can make a person feel ill and cause them to take more leaves from work and school.
  • People who experience allergic rhinitis often have a problem in sleeping well or they might even stay awake for most of the night due to the discomfort. This can cause tiredness and cause many people to feel unwell.
  • Allergic rhinitis can worsen the impact of asthma in people
  • Allergic rhinitis can also lead to sinusitis, which is an infection or the swelling of the membrane that surrounds the sinus.
  • Allergic rhinitis can also lead to extreme pain in the ear or an infection.

Prevention of Allergic Rhinitis

There is no particular way to avoid allergic rhinitis. However, the best prevention is to stay away from allergens or minimise exposure. Moreover, specific medications can help prevent the triggers from worsening the impact.

Diagnosis of Allergic Rhinitis

To diagnose allergic rhinitis, the doctor will conduct a physical examination and try to understand the medical history of the patient. Based on the analysis, the healthcare professional can further recommend a few tests, such as below:

  • Skin prick test: In this particular test, trigger allergens are pricked into the skin of the patient and the doctor observes the patient for any reaction in the body. If the person is allergic, a particular hive develops in that area.
  • Allergy blood test: Also referred to as the radioallergosorbent test (RAST), this helps in estimating the body’s immune system retort to certain allergens in the lab.

Treatment of Allergic Rhinitis

The most ideal way to treat allergic rhinitis is to stay away from triggers and allergens. But in case, the hay fever and symptoms are not severe, certain over-the-counter medications can provide effective relief. Moreover, in case, symptoms intensify, the patient would then need medications prescribed by the doctor. 

Among other treatment types, a patient can also be given allergy shots called immunotherapy. Also, under-the-tongue allergy tablets and often rinsing the sinuses is recommended for troubling allergic rhinitis symptoms.

That said, allergic rhinitis is not a very serious condition but can lead to some extremely discomforting symptoms including hampering the quality of life if it is not treated well.

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