Hearing impairment: what are the causes? | New times


Esperance Mukakalisa’s hearing grew weaker and weaker in his right ear with each passing day.

Mukakalisa used to regularly clean his ears with cotton swabs or other small objects, to prevent the build-up of earwax.

“It started with the right ear, I had trouble listening to a conversation. Over time I completely lost hearing in that ear and then it started to drop in my left ear as well, ”she recalls.

She says she always cleaned her ears and thought the hearing problem was the result of dust and earwax, but the situation only got worse and so she decided to go to the hospital. .

“After consultation, they decided to check my ears. They pulled out what looked like a small pile of cotton from each ear. The doctors told me these were fine particles that stayed in my ears for a long time and accumulated in the eardrum, ”she says.

Fortunately, she has regained her hearing and now only cleans the outside of her ears. When she feels something is wrong, she goes to the hospital for a check-up.


Using cotton swabs to remove earwax can cause permanent deafness, doctors warned.

Ear, nose and throat specialist Dr Kayitesi Batamuliza Mukara explains that putting objects in the ears, such as sticks, can have many negative consequences on hearing.

They can destroy the eardrum, which plays an important role in receiving and sending sound to the ears.

If damaged, hearing ability is affected.

Many people use cotton for “hygiene purposes,” however, this is unhealthy as it increases the risk of ear infections, she says.

“When you put cotton swabs in the ears, you create little wounds because the skin in that part of the body is very soft, which creates an environment for germs that cause various ear infections,” he explains. -she.


Dr Jules Ndayisaba, head of noncommunicable diseases at Rwanda Biomedical Center, says that there are fluids produced by the body to protect the ears.

If you have a problem with earwax go to the hospital and they will help you if needed.

“You might find it unusual, but doctors find it normal, so they don’t act on it. The way forward is to always seek medical advice in the event of a problem. Otherwise, you risk suffering from permanent hearing loss, ”he says.

Hearing loss occurs when the ability to hear is reduced or lost and it becomes more difficult for those affected to respond to sound. Some people can lose their hearing ability completely, and others can regain it if they are helped in time.


When it comes to ear infections, some are contagious and others are non-infectious. If a person has a hearing infection and does not go to the hospital, it could lead to hearing loss, says Dr Ndayisaba.

Hearing loss can also be the result of meningitis, and if children survive it, most of the time they are left with disabilities.

Hearing loss can also be the result of an accident that has affected the sense of hearing.


Dr Kayitesi says hearing aids help amplify sound for a person with hearing loss.

“There are people with absolute hearing loss and others who can hear if the sound is loud. Hearing aids help increase the sound as it enters the ear, ”she says.

However, these aids cannot help people with permanent hearing loss. That means people who are deaf from birth or with complete hearing loss later in life can’t use them, she says.

Medicines like gentamicin and streptomycin, antibiotics used to treat several types of bacterial infections or used to treat tuberculosis, can also cause hearing loss.

Diseases like ear infections attack the ears, but hearing ability is not completely lost.

When a child receives hearing aids at a tender age, he / she may well have a conversation, ”she says.

When children are diagnosed with late-stage hearing loss, they experience speech impairment.

“For example, if a child is diagnosed with hearing loss at age three, he cannot speak. However, if they get help early, they learn to speak, ”says Dr Kayitesi.

Dr Kayitesi says parents should start to worry if a child is sleeping a lot, even in a noisy environment.

“Normally, when people make noise or slam a door, babies tend to wake up. For hearing-impaired children, they will continue to sleep peacefully. Parents take it as a good thing, but it can be a complication. It is a sign of hearing loss. If you talk to the baby and he doesn’t show any signs of listening, then you should be concerned, ”she says.

Dr Kayitesi says parents and caregivers should also monitor children and prevent them from putting objects in their ears.

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