‘Binge-watching films, web series may lead to hearing problems’

New Delhi: It’s not just your eyes that are vulnerable to damage when exposed to audio-visual stimuli for too long. Binging on television and online shows for extended hours can lead to hearing problems, says a doctor.

Binge-watching can have a variety of negative effects on a person’s mental and physical well-being. Binge-watchers are reported to have higher levels of stress, anxiety, depression and sleep deprivation, notes Dr Shivprakash Mehta, Consultant ENT, Apollo Spectra Hospital Pune.

He explains hearing loss as a decrease in the ability to hear or understand speech and sound around a person. Binge-watching also has an effect on hearing.

“Repeated exposure to loud noise may lead to temporary or permanent hearing loss at any age. The ear is made up of three parts outer, middle and inner ear. All these work together to process sound. Part of the inner ear called cochlea contains tiny hair cells which helps send sound messages to the brain,” he explained in an interview to IANSlife.

Adding, “Continuous using headphone or earphones with loud noise can damage hair cells and nerves causing hearing loss. These harmful effects persist even after the exposure of noise has stopped and is usually permanent. Generally, people don’t realise they have a problem until it is too late,”

People may experience ringing, buzzing or roaring in ears after hearing a loud noise. There may also be muffling or distortion of sound. The senior doctor suggests consulting an ear specialist and getting audiometry testing done if any signs are there.

“Noise-induced hearing loss (due to earphones) is 100 per cent preventable. It should be used in moderation. Earphones should not be used for more than 60 minutes at a time and at no more than 60 per cent of the maximum volume. Binge-watching may lead to continuous exposure to loud sounds and result in hearing problems,” the doctor said.

His advice? “There is no harm in watching a series but it is important to do it in moderation. Limit the number of episodes you watch at a stretch and decide in advance. You can choose to stop halfway through an episode before the cliff hanger so you don’t feel compelled to keep going.”


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