Andhra Pradesh

Online classes: students complain of eye and ear problems

Even as the debate rages whether to continue with online classes or open up institutions , schools in Chennai have been educatiing students through youtube packages and zoom interactive sessions.

Even as the debate rages whether to continue with online classes or open up institutions , schools in Chennai have been educatiing students through youtube packages and zoom interactive sessions.   | Photo Credit: Bijoy Ghosh

Online classes, no doubt, provide students to catch up on the classes lost due to the prolonged lockdown as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Attending classes online without a break is said to be causing problems like dry eye syndrome, burning sensation of eyes, and ear problems.

Educationists and doctors have their own reservations on online classes for primary classes. Doctors suggest use of laptops and external speakers, instead of earphones, to avoid eye and ear problems.

“During the last two weeks, a few schoolchildren in the age group of 8-10 came to my clinic with complaints of dryness in their eyes and frequent blinking of eyes. Prolonged reading on the mobile screen and watching it from close range may result in this type of problems,” says G. Hanumantha Rao, an ophthalmologist, who runs his clinic on MVP Double Road. He suggests that a laptop or a desktop with a large screen should be preferred. It also ensures that proper viewing distance is maintained, at least to some extent.

“Prolonged use of earphones can result in noise-induced deafness. It can also cause tinnitus and the child may experience ringing sounds in the ear. Severe exposure may cause inability to hear certain frequencies. The problems depend on the duration and intensity of the sound,” says B. Ramachandra Rao, an ENT surgeon at the Government ENT Hospital in the city.

‘Stress on brain’

“Online classes for young children may cause stress on their growing brains. In the actual classroom scenario, they get breaks, interact with friends and the surrounding atmosphere would be conducive to the learning process. Sitting for long hours watching the mobile screen or laptop is not advisable for them,” says P. Venugopal, Head of the Department of Paediatrics, Andhra Medical College.

“Earphones increase the chances of ear infections as they are placed directly into the ear canal. They block the passage of air, which enhances the chances of ear infections. Their regular and long-term use increases the growth of bacteria and sharing the earphones increases the risk of transfer of bacteria from one person to the other,” says S.K.E. Appa Rao, an ENT Surgeon.

Students attending online classes should preferably use external speakers and over the ear headphone. It is preferable to use headphones over earphones as the latter is closer to the eardrum and causes greater damage when used for a long period of time, says Susruta, an ENT surgeon.

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Printable version | Aug 6, 2020 3:37:36 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/online-classes-students-complain-of-eye-and-ear-problems/article31863501.ece

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