Winter is here and the cold weather is upon us. Did you know that unprotected ears in cold weather might affect your hearing health? Cold weather can actually increase the risk for ear infections and other conditions such as surfer’s ear, and it can also potentially cause damage to hearing aids. So when it comes to healthy hearing and hearing aid maintenance, it is important to keep your ears and hearing aid instruments warm and dry. Read more to learn why and how you can keep your ears and hearing aids warm.
How Can Cold Weather Affect You Hearing Health?
Cold weather conditions can sometimes present challenges for exposed body parts, including the ears. Ears cool down very quickly because they have no protective fat tissue. The nerves in the ear canal minimally protected under the skin and may react with a strong pain impulse to changing temperatures.
If your ears are overexposed to cold weather, it can result in bone spurs, also called exostosis. This happens when excess bone grows in the ear canal to protect the ear. This condition is sometimes called surfer’s ear or swimmer’s ear, since surfers who frequent cold water wear wetsuits, but they do not usually protect their ears.
Ear Infections and Other Hearing Loss Disorders
In addition, the risk of infection in the ears increases in cold conditions because less blood is circulated. Cold and wind can irritate the ear canal, which often causes pain, while water in the ears can cause inflammation. Also, a cold head may cause cramped muscles in the neck region, which can also lead to tinnitus.
How Can Cold Weather Cause Damage to Hearing Aids?
If unmanaged and unprotected, your hearing aid battery can run down more quickly due to cold weather exposure. Condensation can also occur inside the hearing aid, causing electronic failure. Fortunately, the experts at Kenwood Hearing Center have put together some tips on how to protect your ears and your hearing aid(s):
- Keep your ears warm by wearing a hat, headband, or earmuffs.
- Dry your ear canal as well as possible after showering, swimming or using a sauna.
- If you have an ear infection, seek medical assistance; if left untreated, an ear infection can get worse and cause serious damage.
- A healthy diet and exercise can help stimulate blood circulation to your ears.
For those who wear hearing aids:
- Always have spare hearing aid batteries handy.
- Never put hearing instruments on a heater.
- If you need to warm up or dry your hearing aid(s), drying containers used to keep your hearing aids dry are available from hearing care professionals.
- Water-resistant hearing instruments are less susceptible to damage from condensation; discuss this with your hearing care professional.
Consult with the Hearing Experts at Kenwood Hearing Center
Still have questions? If you would like to speak with an experienced hearing care professional about hearing loss prevention or anything else related to your hearing health, contact us today and schedule an appointment.