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Srinagar, Jan 19 : Keeping earphones plugged in for a long time may cause hearing problems in the long run, experts have warned.

According to medical professionals, the main issue with headphones or earphones is the loudness to ears as well as their prolonged use.

“Earphones are capable of creating very loud levels of sound very close to the ear and so are quite harmful,” Dr Irfan Ul Shamas, a prominent ENT expert in the valley, told the news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO). He said it is not only about the loudness of the headphones, but also about the duration, the earphones are plugged in.

Dr Shamas said they are not witnessing any major cases of hearing loss currently in Kashmir. However, there are more chances of ‘Occupational Noise Induced Hearing Loss’ (ONIHL) due to high volume or prolonged use of earphones or headphones, he added.

Speaking about the ONIHL scenario, Dr Shamas said this typical hearing loss happens at a frequency of 4000 Hz, and in its early stage, a person cannot hear sounds like the noise of birds or the sound of flowing water. “One should not continue the prolonged use of headphones or earphones or at high decibels as its excessive usage will definitely cause Noise Induce Hearing Loss,” he said.

The ENT specialist strictly warned against the use of earphones or headphones by younger people, especially children, saying young people, especially students, are at a potentially high risk of getting affected by ‘Occupational Noise Induced Hearing Loss’ due to excessive and prolonged use of hearing gadgets.

Sharing his clinical experience, he highlighted that people from the coppersmith profession are also vulnerable to hearing loss as a maximum of their work without any ear-protecting gear.

“When coppersmiths are at work, the sound of short burst sound goes to ear as high as 120 decibels levels. However, if they use protective gear like ear plugs or at a minimum with cotton with Vaseline that can give them protection to a certain level,” he said.

Notably, an observational research study was conducted by a team of valley-based doctors in the department of ENT & HNS of the government medical college Srinagar and SMHS hospital for a period of two years from Aug 2011 to Oct 2013, in which a total of 158 patients were included in the study who were exposed to audiometric analysis apart from clinical examinations.

According to the research, the purpose of that observational study was to evaluate the incidence of occupational noise-induced hearing loss (ONIHL) among the local industrial population of Kashmir which is involved in occupations exposed to noise.

In its conclusion report, the research stated that the people who are exposed to the noise of more than 90db for more than 8 hours a day working in local industries of Kashmir have high-frequency sensorineural hearing loss.

Urging the youngsters to limit the use of earphones, and headphones Dr Shamas said those in need to use these alternative hearing gadgets should use them at regular intervals and breaks and keep half of the volume of the total volume capacity.

In another study published in the journal BMJ Global Health in November 2022, research was conducted to determine the prevalence of unsafe listening practices from exposure to personal listening devices (PLDs) and loud entertainment venues in individuals aged 12–34 years, and to estimate the number of young people who could be at risk of hearing loss from unsafe listening worldwide.

The study in its concluding report stated that unsafe listening practices are highly prevalent worldwide and may place over 1 billion young people at risk of hearing loss. It said there is an urgent need to prioritise policy focused on safe listening.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that over 430 million people worldwide currently have disabling hearing loss. Young people are particularly vulnerable because of their use of personal listening devices (PLDs), such as smartphones, headphones, and earbuds, and attendance at loud music venues, amid poor regulatory enforcement—(KNO)

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Waris Fayaz

Kupwara, Jan 17 : As Karnah remained cut off after fresh snowfall, the locals here on Tuesday carried a patient to hospital on their shoulders as the roads have not been cleared in the village yet, thereby pushing the people to the wall.

A 2:30 minute video clip went viral on social media platforms in which the locals could be seen carrying a patient on their shoulders for several kilometres to reach the hospital.

The news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO) has learnt that a male patient from Murchana Relaya area of Karnah area of Karnah was suffering from severe pain and was carried on shoulders all the way to reach the hospital as the area continue to remain cut off since the last eight days.

“These incidents illustrate how authorities have failed to provide basic facilities to people in remote areas,” a local in a video clip could be heard saying. “We have been carrying the patient on shoulder since 8 AM,” they said.

It took nearly 3-4 hours to reach the Sub District Hospital Karnah, the locals said, adding that people who are in need of medical emergencies have no other option than carrying the patient on their shoulders to reach the hospital.

Meanwhile, the locals urged authorities to clear the roads so that the people here could heave a sigh of relief—(KNO)

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Waris Fayaz

Sopore, Jan 17 : A 55-year-old man died of a cardiac arrest at Rakh e Hygam village of Sopore in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district on Tuesday morning.

An official told the news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO) that a man identified as Abdul Rashid Malla, son of Mohammad Shaban Malla of Sopore’s Rakh-e-Hygam died soon after he complained about severe pain in the chest at home.

He said that Malla was immediately rushed to a nearby health facility in Sopore, where doctors declared him dead on arrival.

Reportedly, this is the 9th death due to cardiac arrest in Kashmir valley during the past three days—(KNO)

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Srinagar, Jan 16 : A sudden surge in heart attacks in Kashmir has worried people with a dozen cases reported in the last 48 hours.

Doctors said that prevailing freezing temperature constricts blood vessels and increases blood pressure as blood tends to be thicker during extreme cold, increasing chances of heart attack or stroke.

Dr Irfan, a cardiologist from Government Medical College Srinagar told news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO) that heart attack cases in Kashmir have increased in the last four years with about 10-20 heart attack cases being brought to SMHS Hospital alone on a daily basis.

He suggested precautionary measures including keeping blood pressure and diabetes in control and cholesterol levels. Besides, people should leave sedentary life, quit smoking and do regular physical exercises to avoid risk of heart attack, Dr Irfan added.

“People must keep themselves warm, avoid going out in the chilly cold for a walk. They should eat a healthy diet, mainly fruits and vegetables, to keep themselves hydrated,” he said.

He said that the first hour of a heart attack is called the golden hour and patients who have cardiac emergencies need thrombosis and first aid after which they can be shifted to tertiary care hospital.

“Whenever we receive a call, we analyse the ECG and ensure that the right treatment is given to a patient at the right time at their doorstep. When a cardiac emergency case gets first medical contact in the area, the doctor uploads ECG in WhatsApp group of Save heart initiative, where a cardiologist evaluates the ECG following which he guides the official how to handle the patient,” the doctor said.

Another cardiologist said the common symptoms for heart attack include chest pain, tightness, squeezing/ache discomfort that spreads to the shoulder, arm, back, neck, jaw, teeth or sometimes the upper belly. “Cold sweat, fatigue, heartburn or indigestion, light-headedness or sudden dizziness, nausea and shortness of breath are some of the common symptoms,” he said—(KNO)

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Srinagar, Jan 14 : The School Education Department has asked the Head of Institutions of all schools to identify the students involved in cigarette smoking and other drug addiction activities for counselling to eradicate the menace.

The official documents available with the news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO) states that the Chief Education Officer (CEO) had said this in a communique to principals, Zonal Education Officers (ZEOs) and Headmasters.

The officer has accordingly directed the conduct of Survey and mapping of shops within periphery of 100 yards selling cigarettes or drugs and identifying the students thereof.

“It is our moral obligation to educate the students and society about the adverse effect of drug menace,” the CEO said.

He said that, “If we take the message to the students and society in time we will succeed to grow them into civilised adults.”

The officer has also said that since the teacher is a social activist and has a great role in shaping the civilised society and therefore we should put in our best efforts to free the society from this evil.

In this connection, the CEO advised to conduct surveys and mapping of shops in the periphery of 100 yards of Education institutions. “Send the list of shops selling cigarettes and other ill effective substances to this office within five days positively.”

“It is impressed upon all the Head of Institutions (HoIs) to identify the students involved in cigarette smoking and other drug addiction so that they may be counselled in time and the menace shall automatically get eradicated,” the CEO said—(KNO)

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Srinagar, Jan 14 : In today’s digital world, it seems normal to see our children addicted to their phones, searching for various forms of entertainment and information online. While parents seem to be least bothered about the growing trend, the child experts believe it is equally important for children and adolescents to manage their screen time appropriately before developing smartphone addiction which may affect the mental health of children.

The experts in valley underline a series of the adverse effects of mobile addiction and screen-based technology on children’s psychology in Kashmir. They said that the children and adolescents are witnessing major psychological issues due to mobile addiction, gaming and the widespread use of digital devices in their daily lives.

They further said that early exposure to mobile screen and addiction of gaming may increase one’s susceptibility to developing health problems.

An independent research done by Kashmir based psychological and Child expert Muzzafar Ahmed, Danishwar Rasool Dar, and Dr. Rameez, accessed by the news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO) state that the invention of the Mobile Phones, and the peculiar ways in which people are utilising the technology had prompted questions about whether improper usage of it could lead to addiction.

Nearly three years into the COVID-19 pandemic, screen usage has increased exponentially, especially among children, and as per a recent study published in JAMA Paediatrics, the average amount of time children spend staring at screens has risen 52 percent since the beginning of the pandemic.

According to a study conducted by the Kashmiri trio, some of the addictive characteristics in children is excessive permission given by some parents to their children for gaming in order to have some mental peace for a short period of time, and in single child cases, families who do not have anyone to play outdoor games with are showing more interest in mobile gaming to overcome their loneliness.

“Busy parents or Emotional Dependency: In today’s world, most parents are too preoccupied with their jobs and businesses to provide their children with adequate emotional support. Here children are taking emotional support from mobile gaming and becoming dependent,” the study reads. “The addictiveness of smartphones, immersion and role-playing in many games allow players to create their own character, leading them often in a fantasy world that can be heavily influenced by their actions within it.”

It reads: “Players can get highly attached to these characters and the world they live in. Sadly, becoming over-attached to these fantasy worlds can lead to negligence towards real-world responsibilities.”

Dr Muzzafar Ahmed, consultant clinical psychologist at Composite Regional Centre (CRC) Bemina, Srinagar while speaking about the side effects of mobile gaming told KNO that from a psychological perspective, it was found that depression and anxiety are associated with gaming addiction in children, and same findings are reported regarding adults. “Anxiety can be triggered gradually in heavy users when their smart phones are unavailable.”

The study further states that communication problems or a lack of social engagement, attention and concentration problems, behavioural problems, Avoidance of developmental tasks, negative role model issues, habits and disinterest in other aspects of life, and physical problems are all listed as side effects of mobile gaming and fallout of phone addictiveness.

Prof. Dr. Reyaz Malik, a prominent paediatrician in the valley, while expressing concern over the mobile addiction among children, told KNO that excessive usage of mobile screens affects the brain development of the child.

“There is a considerable increase in mobile addiction, not just among children but also among adults, but these smartphones usually leave negative mental health aspects in children because their brains are in developing phase,” Dr. Malik said.

He said there are some signs which parent should be aware which indicate that their children are addicted towards smartphones and on the higher side are improper timing of sleep, being anxious, expressing anger or exhibiting aggressive behavior or prefer isolation.

Urging the parents, Dr. Malik said that parents should set an example by spending time with their families and children after they finish their day’s work.

“Parents should keep their phones away and keep a family time wherein they will speak and be with their kids rather than being on phone, no screen time should be given space during family time. And even if the screen time is permitted, the exposure should be age-based and calculated,” he added.

The study, while mentioning the prevention measures, states that parents should spend a lot of time with their children and always be there for them emotionally, and not let them play video games when they’re with you.

“Make other physical activities or outdoor sports a part of the child’s life as well. If children show some aggressive behaviour, as a parent, you must set boundaries and explain that this kind of behaviour is unacceptable. Be firm and demonstrate that such behavior carries consequences like time-out or being kept away from a favourite activity for the day,” the study reads.

It states that parents should teach their children alternative ways to express their feelings—ways that are socially acceptable and should encourage them to pursue other hobbies and interests, particularly sports and other physical activities—(KNO)

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Srinagar, Jan 11 : Despite the surge in Covid-19 cases worldwide, the situation in J&K so far is well under control as no surge has been reported here, officials said Wednesday.

Officials while talking to news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO) said that the surge in Covid-19 cases was reported in different countries but situation J&K is better as no surge has been reported.

They said that people in J&K have hybrid immunity because of a combination of widespread natural infection and vaccination.

They said that people with hybrid immunity developed by both vaccination and previous infections have significant protection against future Covid infections.

Almost everyone has contracted the virus more than once during three Covid-19 waves besides that above 12 years of age whole population is vaccinated, so there are very little chances that any variant can trigger fresh wave as of now here, he said

They said that there is no need to panic and cases have started to decline in countries which witnessed recently but people must take precautions and government keep vigil on new variants by conducting genome sequencing of positive cases.

They said that as of now there are 22 active cases of Covid-19 but no one among them has been admitted in hospital and all are under observation at home.

They said that J&K is ready to tackle any situation in future as well but people must take precautions.

Notably, mock drills in the hospitals were conducted to ensure operational readiness for management of Covid with specific focus on oxygen plants, ventilators, logistics and human resources—(KNO)

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Doda, Jan 10 : At least three people were killed after a vehicle skidded off the road and fell down into 500-ft-deep gorge in Doda district on Tuesday evening.

An official told news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO), that a Tempu traveller (JK02AE-9222) on its way Doda towards Khankoot when reached near Khankoot rolled down from the road and fell into 500-feet-deep George.

“Soon after the incident, a rescue operation was started but unfortunately three people died on the spot”, he said.

He identified the deceased as Mohammad Aslam son of Mohammad Ismail, Mohammad Ishaq son of Mohammad Ibrahim and Mohammad Yaseen son of Ghulam Hassan Wani, all residents of Khankoot.

SSP Doda Abdul Qayoom also confirmed the incident—(KNO)

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Bandipora, Jan 09 : A sub health centre in one of the remotest villages of Gurez in North Kashmir’s Bandipora district is without a doctor and paramedics for a long time, locals complained on Monday.

Locals from the Buglinder village of Gurez while complaining about the issue, told news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO), that the health centre is inadequately staffed particularly a doctor or a paramedics since a long time due to which patient care had been badly hit.

The locals blamed the concerned authorities for their “insensitive attitude” towards the centre and alleged that it lacks staff including a doctor and paramedics required for its smooth functioning.

“Due to non-availability of the heath staff daily patient care has also been hit badly while pregnant women and elderly ailing people of the area are also facing severe hardships,” one of the locals said.

“It seems that the administration has not done anything good for us yet,” he said, adding that the health center is also without basic facilities which shows the non-serious approach of the Government towards this village and health sector.

The locals have requested the concerned authorities and Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha to personally look into the matter and redress their grievances.

Meanwhile, Block medical officer (BMO), Gurez Dr Tahira said that one of the paramedics posted there was recently attached by the SDM to other area following an issue with locals. He said that now another staffer has been deputed to the health centre for its smooth functioning—(KNO)

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Srinagar, Jan 09 : In six year, Sher-I-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS) Soura have registered over 27,000 patients ailing with cancer disease.

Besides, the institute has witnessed 1833 deaths due to different types of cancer.

During this period, the institute has also issued 64,504 Out Patient Department (OPD) cards issued by the department of Nephrology.

The official figures of SKIMS accessed by the news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO) reveals that from October-2016 to October-2022, the institute has registered 27,727.

The Public Information Officer (PIO) SKIMS in a reply to Right to Information (RTI) said, “Total number of OPD cards issued under the Nephrology Department from October-2016 to October-2022 are 64504 and cancer patients registered are 27727.”

“From October-2016 to October-2022, a total number of 17,579 deaths have been registered,” PIO said.

It also said that under medical Oncology, radiotherapy, Clinical Hematology and Surgical Oncology during these six years are 1833 while under the Nephrology department at least 1145 deaths were recorded.

The PIO also said that 1745 accidental deaths were also recorded by the institute during this period.

About the total number of patients admitted and treated in State Cancer Institute since its establishment from December-05-2020 to October-2022 includes, the officer said that at least 2473 patients were admitted and treated while 659 deaths were also recorded.

On asking about the proposal submitted to the government for a separate kidney hospital, the PIO said, “Any kind of proposal for a separate kidney hospital will be dealt with by the administration.”—(KNO)

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