On the one hand you’ve got beautiful blankets of snow and festive cheer and on the other hand you’ve got flu season and icy roads. Winter can be wonderful or terrible. For anyone with hearing loss, it’s easy to veer towards terrible if you aren’t clued up on how to look after your hearing when the temperatures drop. So that’s exactly what we’ll cover in this blog.
Here are 5 wintery problems and 5 solutions:
(1) That dreaded moisture
Modern hearing aids are medical marvels but they aren’t unbreakable and moisture is one of their biggest enemies. When you’re outside in the cold, your hearing aids get cold too. Then you get back into the warmth inside and water condenses on your hearing aids. This moisture can get into the electrical components of your hearing aids and damage them. The same goes for sweat that you may very well work up when you’re clearing your drive of snow. And then of course there is the snow itself, not to mention sleet and rain.
The solution: keep your hearing aids warm by wearing a hat or better yet buy hearing aid sweatbands, moisture-resistant sleeves that slip on over the body of your hearing aids if you use BTEs.
(2) Slip and slide
If you have hearing loss you may also have trouble with balance, the other major function your ears are responsible for. This makes the icy roads even more of a hazard.
The solution: go slow and wear shoes with good grip when you’re out walking.
(3) Blown away
When your drive is snowed under, shovelling it away can sound too much like hard work. That’s when the snow blowers come out. It’s important to protect your ears from the loud noises they make.
The solution: earplugs or noise-reducing headphones are an absolute must to make sure you don’t damage your hearing further.
Not of the insect variety but bacteria. Ear infections are more common in winter because the tube that connects your throat to your ears narrows when you have a sore throat. This makes it harder for any bacteria in your inner ear to clear out. Once infection takes hold it’s harder for you to fight it off because the cold weather reduces the blood supply to your ears and it’s your blood supply that is the highway your infection-fighting cells take to get to your ears.
The solution: while you may not be able to prevent yourself from catching a cold, you can keep your ears warm by wearing a hat. This will improve the blood supply to your ears and so help your infection-fighting cells get to where they need to be to fight off any ear infections.
(5) More than a cold snap
Extremely cold weather can really mess with your ears by causing small bony bumps to grow along your ear canal. It’s called surfer’s ear, though in this scenario you’re more likely to get it from spending lots of time outside in extreme cold, say if you’re big on skiing. It can make it harder for you to hear and increase your chances of ear infections.
The solution: keep your ears warm, a running theme when it comes to protecting your hearing health. Invest in a really good winter hat to see you through the chill.
Hearing health is important year-round, not just through winter. So if you’re concerned about your hearing and think you may have hearing loss, come see one of our hearing instrument specialists at any of our 39 Beltone Hearing centers across Ohio and Michigan; click here to find your closest center. We’ll get your hearing back on track so you can enjoy every season.