Perils Of Indiscriminate Cell Phone Use


Hello, mobile addicts, beware of high risk of speech and hearing disorders, says ISHA survey

NEW DELHI, Aug 16 (Ther CONNECT) – Addicted to mobile phone? Het set for replacing your headset with hearing aids!

Indiscriminate use of headphones and earphones can heighten the risk of speech and hearing disorders, shows a door-to-door survey conducted by the Delhi Branch of the Indian Speech & Hearing Association (ISHA) in partnership with the Health Parliament and the International Patients’ Union.

The problem can have severe repercussions as it can cause a severe shortage of professionals in the digital era, renowned policy maker Dr Rajendra Pratap Gupta said.

The survey report was released at an event in the national capital on Sunday. a total of 53,801 individuals from 10,228 families from the Delhi – NCR area and over 6000 individuals from 1257 families in Jammu & Kashmir were surveyed from May to June 2023 in the country’s largest door-to-door survey on Communication Disorders.

Speaking on the report, Dr Gupta, former advisor to the Union Health Minister, and founder of the Health Parliament and the International Patients’ Union, stressed the necessity of a multi-stakeholder strategy to promote consciousness regarding the indiscriminate use of mobile devices.

He stated, “In the digital era, the escalating exposure to gadgets not only heightens the risk of speech and hearing disorders but also portends a severe shortage of professionals in this domain.

Employing technology to foster awareness, screening, and treatment for these disorders is imperative.” Dr. Gupta called for an expanded pool of trained professionals to address the mounting burden of speech and hearing issues, suggesting the inclusion of these disabilities in the National Family Health Survey (NFHS) and advocating for a nationwide campaign to enhance awareness.

According to Dr Gupta, ‘the prevalence of Communication Disorders has increased to more than 3% and their awareness levels remain low at about 11%. Hearing impairment (HI) has increased within the 19-25 years age group (41.2%) and the 26-60 years age group (69.4%), and this is a wake-up call for the ‘mobile generation’ to stop the indiscriminate usage of headphone/earphones, else, they would soon have to use ‘hearing aids’ instead of ‘headphones’.

Notably, the survey revealed a prevalence rate of 3.05% for communication disorders in the Delhi-NCR area, 6.17% in Kashmir and 2.4% in Jammu.

Dr. K. Madan Gopal, former senior consultant at NITI Aayog and Advisor at the National Health Systems Resource Centre (NHSRC), was the guest of honour at the event. He highlighted the survey’s potential to shape healthcare policies, underscoring the profound societal implications of addressing speech and hearing impairments.

The survey findings for Delhi-NCR revealed that speech sound disorders (SSD) exhibit higher prevalence rates in the 6-12 years age group (42.4%) and the 13-18 years age group (31.1%).

Fluency disorders are more prevalent among those aged 6-12 years (20.7%) and 13-18 years (17.1%). Language disorders exhibit a higher prevalence among ages 0-5 years (69%) and 13-18 years (48.2%).

The report identified varying prevalence rates for voice disorders across different age segments, with the highest observed in the 19-25 years age group (17%) and 13-18 years age group (11.6%). Vestibular disorders are more pronounced in the 26-60 years age group (8.7%). Multiple communication disorders are most evident in ages 0-5 years (37%) and 6-12 years (33.9%).

In Kashmir, 57.6% of the females and 42.4% of males were identified to have communication disorders, whereas, in Jammu, 66.4% of the male population and 33.6% of the female population were identified with communication disorders.