Relationship Between Winter & Hearing Loss
Wondering how to protect your hearing in winter weather? Here's everything you need to know.
As winter weather arrives in your town, you may on occasion find yourself caught outdoors without a beanie, earmuffs or a hooded sweatshirt. In that moment, with the frigid wind blowing your ears and causing them to ache, you may find yourself wondering: Can cold weather lead to a sudden loss of hearing?
Don't worry: assuming your exposure to the cold isn’t prolonged, it’s unlikely that normal seasonal temperatures will suddenly damage your hearing. But here are some tips for protecting your hearing health all season long:
Protect your ears against cold winds.
Exposing your ear canals to cold winds can cause pain and irritation to the very thin and sensitive skin which lines your ear canal. Also, any earwax that may be in your ear canals if exposed for long periods of time to cold winds can harden and become very difficult to remove.
Protect yourself against illness.
During the winter, the risk of developing a cold or upper respiratory infection is greater than at other times of the year. For that reason, it's important to keep your immune system strong throughout the season.
The middle part of your ear, which is behind your eardrum, is normally filled with air and is kept drained and ventilated by a tube (the Eustacian Tube) that extends down into your throat. When you have the common cold or an upper respiratory tract infection the end of that tube in your throat can become blocked, which can cause the middle part of the ear to fill up with fluid. When the middle ear fills up with fluid it can put pressure on the ear drum, which leads to discomfort and in the most extreme cases, can burst your ear drum if not treated.
If you should start to feel fullness, pain, pressure, or muffled hearing in your ears, a visit to your primary physician or a specialist may be warranted.
Keep your hearing aids dry.
Most hearing aids are built to hold up against the elements, including rain and snow. For added protection against the intrusion of liquid, choose from any of Beltone’s hearing aid models, which come with an HPF80 NanoBlock protective coating.
That said, no hearing aids are 100% waterproof and care should be taken to keep them as dry as possible while using them. Wear a breathable hat or earmuffs to keep your ears shielded from moisture, and dry off the equipment as needed when you come indoors (including swabbing inside the battery compartment if you wear traditional battery hearing aids). You may even wish to leave the hearing aids to dry overnight or place them in a hearing aid dehumidifier.
Learn more about wearing hearing aids during the winter by checking out our blog on the topic.
Protect your hearing while using a snow blower.
Gas-powered snow blowers can produce sound up to 100dB on average. Over time, sound this loud can damage your hearing. Wearing earplugs, then a hat over that will help protect not only your ears from the cold, but also from the loud sound.