Tips For Protecting Your Hearing Health This Winter

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Protecting ears in winter

The cold months are upon us, and it is time to bundle up to stay warm. As you put on your coat, boots, and gloves this winter, please don’t forget that your ears need protection too! If you neglect covering your ears this winter, you may be risking hearing loss and ear damage. So as you bundle up in sweaters, drink hot cocoa, ice skate, and engage in snowball fights, take appropriate measures to protect your hearing!

The Effect Of Cold Weather On Hearing

Cold weather can cause some problems for unprotected ears. Excessive moisture may become trapped in your ear this winter allowing bacteria to grow in the ear canal. The result is swimmer’s ear which is a painful condition. Exotosis, which is the overgrowth of bone in the ear canal can result from exposure to cold wind. The ear canal narrows making it difficult for earwax to be expelled which results in pain, infection, and possible hearing loss.

Cold Weather And Tinnitus

Tinnitus can be a real pain, and cold weather can make it worse. It is believed to be due to the constriction of blood vessels within the ear. Cold weather redirects blood flow to keep internal organs warm while leaving extremities such as your ears with less circulation. This process results in less oxygenation causing a ringing sensation in the ears. Warm head coverings are a precaution but staying inside is even better.

Respiratory Infections

Infections of the respiratory tract are common in winter. So if you feel sniffling and sneezing coming on, try to avoid getting water in your ears. Although fluid buildup will probably accompany the infection, do your best to avoid adding extra fluid to your ears. If you are experiencing an earache, consult your healthcare provider. A neglected ear infection can lead to hearing loss.

Hearing Aids And Cold Weather

The cold winter air can affect your hearing aids. Water and moisture reduce the charge of zinc-air batteries. Snow and condensation buildup corrode hearing aids and prevent sound from reaching the hearing aid microphone. If you notice that your hearing aid is quiet or making crackling noises, there is a good chance it is due to moisture exposure. Although the majority of hearing aids function well in cold weather, they may still experience problems. Here are a few tips to protect your hearing aids this winter:

  • Carry extra batteries
  • Shield ears from moisture by wearing a hat, scarf, or earmuffs
  • Remove hearing aids before winter sports
  • Consider purchasing a hearing aid sweatband to soak up excess moisture
  • Avoid noise exposure from snowblowers, snowmobiles, and other loud winter sounds
  • Wipe excess moisture from hearing aids and store in a dry container

How To Protect Your Hearing

The cold days of winter can be damaging to your ears and your ability to listen. These tips will help you protect your hearing this winter:

  • Keep your ears protected by wearing a hat, earmuffs, or a headband.
  • Try to keep moisture away from your ears.
  • Avoid cold and moisture whenever possible.
  • Try not to fly with a cold as it may block your eustachian tube leading to fluid buildup and infection.

Avoid noisy machines such as snowblowers and snowmobiles.

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