Hearing loss can even come from something as simple as the aging process. One particular source however, many do not think about; cold weather.
According to new research, hearing loss can stem from extensive exposure to cold weather. When the temperature drops, the risk of ringing in the ears and hearing loss increases. This is because there is a higher risk of rogue bones growing in the ear canal along with hardening of ear wax.
Bone growth in the ear canal is known as surfer’s ear because this condition is fairly common among those who surf, as they spend a lot of time in colder water. This condition forms on the top of existing bone in the ears and travels down the canal to the ear drum. The condition can potentially lead to hearing loss and also results in constant pain and ringing in the ears.
Dr. Roger Henderson explained, “In severe cases, cold weather can cause abnormal bone growths within the ear canal, known as ‘exostosis.’ This is the body’s way of attempting to protect the ears by creating a barrier against the cold. Exostosis can constrict the ear canal, contributing to increased ear wax build-up as the ear can no longer expel earwax effectively. This can be heightened in cold weather as wax can harden when ears are exposed to low temperatures, making ears more likely to become blocked.”
Along with contributing to surfer’s ear, cold weather has the unfortunate ability to harden earwax inside your ear. This creates a blockage in your ear canal, preventing you to perceive noises properly.
Unfortunately, individuals who use hearing aids are at a much higher risk for hardening earwax because having a “foreign object” in the ear causes it to produce more wax. When wax builds up in the ear, it can lead to infections, earaches, headaches, and ringing in the ears (tinnitus).
During the winter time, it's important to take good care of your ears. Be sure to keep them warm as you would your hands and feet. Wear earmuffs or a hat to keep them warm and cozy.
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