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Avoid Kissing On The Baby's Ear, It Can Lead To Permanent Hearing Loss

By FnF Correspondent | PUBLISHED: 12, Aug 2023, 16:29 pm IST | UPDATED: 12, Aug 2023, 16:29 pm IST

Avoid Kissing On The Baby's Ear, It Can Lead To Permanent Hearing Loss

Where is the one place you should never kiss a baby? It is on the ears. A kiss on the baby's ear can lead to permanent hearing loss, known as "cochlear kiss injury". Read on to know the risk of cochlear ear injury in babies.

Experts, including an audiologist and cochlear implant surgeon, explain why we should avoid kissing on the baby's ear and what are the complications of cochlear ear injury in babies.

A kiss on the opening of the ear creates a negative pressure that pulls the tympanic membrane outward causing dislocation of middle ear structures such as stapes malleus and incus. Due to this, the inner ear fluid leaks out and damages the cochlear hair cells. Symptoms are sensorineural hearing loss (mostly high frequency), ringing sensation, ear fullness, hypersensitivity to sound, and nausea.

The diagnosis is based on a complete case history followed by a battery of test Audiometry, Impedance Audiometry, Stapedial reflex (IPSI and contra), OAE, and in children - Brainstem Evoked Response Audiometry (BERA) is done. A special test is conducted to rule out retro cochlear pathology. When such patients see an otolaryngologist Initial examination of the ear is to be done to look for any visible injury. In younger kids' behavioral audiometry, OAE, Tympanometry, and BERA. The battery of tests consists of subjective and objective tests; hence the false positive or false negative results can be ruled out.

If patients with cochlear ear injury are diagnosed in time and they seek medical help immediately, the loss can be reversed by giving intra tymapnic steroid injections for a few sittings. If left untreated, loss can persist leading to permanent sensorineural hearing loss, according to Dr. Vasanthi Anand, Senior Cochlear Implant Surgeon and Ashwini Nagaraj Gowda, Audiologist Rainbow Children's Hospital, Bannerghatta, Bangalore.

"If it's left untreated it causes permanent sensorineural hearing loss making it difficult to hear in different situations, Tinnitus will cause disturbance in daily work life and also sleepless nights. In children, it becomes the reason for delayed speech and language skills. Overall, the quality of life will be affected," she says.

Audiologist Ashwini Nagaraj Gowda also cautions that we should avoid kissing at the opening of the ear especially in kids because it's still not a completely developed canal."

"If there is an injury without wasting time make an immediate visit to ENT and Audiologist. Follow up on the procedure and don't forget to continue the rehabilitation if required. If it doesn't improve with the medical treatment, then hearing devices will help in improving hearing and reducing tinnitus. With a hearing device, auditory rehabilitation, and speech and language therapy children can develop their language skills without any delay. After the initial evaluation, a battery of tests will be repeated post-medical treatment. Later annual follow-up is recommended."

"In children and in geriatrics 6 months of regular touch with the doctor is recommended as one is developing age and the other deteriorating in age," Gowda adds.


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