How the weather affects your hearing
Ever wondered how each season can have an effect on your hearing? While age and noise are the most common causes for hearing loss, these other factors can change your hearing quality throughout the year.
But don’t worry, every symptom can be managed!
Spring is the first sign of better weather, but sadly also brings with allergies and its symptoms, such as sneezing, itchy eyes, nasal congestion and even ear infections or hearing loss.
When the good weather begins, plants begin to flower, however, pollination can cause many people to experience uncomfortable symptoms. The respiratory tract is most affected by spring allergies, which can lead to an imbalance in the pressure in our ears and can cause a reduction in hearing, or even infections or damage to the ear.
To help prevent this problem, try and avoid going outside at dawn and dusk, when the pollen count is highest, avoid sudden changes in temperature (overuse of air conditioning etc) and if you use a hearing aid, avoid moisture, humidity and exposure to high temperatures, as pollen can block and damage it in these conditions.
The official name is otitis externa, and usually develops in ears when exposed to moisture. People who get it often have been diving or swimming a lot, which can bring the germs directly into the ear canal. Swimmer’s ear often happens during the summer months when lots of us are enjoying water activities.
Sign of swimmer’s ear include itchiness inside the ear and pain that intensifies if you pull on your outer ear. You may also feel like your ear is plugged up, not be able to hear as well, experience fever, or feel liquid draining from your ear.
You’ll need a doctor to determine whether the infection is fungal or bacterial, then prescribe anti-fungal or antibiotic drops to clear up the issue.
Problems for hearing aid wearers
Moisture is the enemy of hearing aids, as it can build up in the tubing, damage the microphone and receiver and cause static. In addition, warm weather means more ear wax build-up, which can clog the sound openings. Always keep your hearing aid clean and dry to prevent any damage and further impaired hearing.
Okay, so we won’t be in planes much over this summer, but for future reference – When a plane takes off, air pressure drops. This makes it easier for air to escape from your middle ears so that there’s an imbalance. As the plane lands and outside air pressure rapidly increases, too much air can enter into your middle ears. In either of these instances, your ears might feel all clogged up, which can dull sound and cause discomfort or pain.
If you’re prone to ear clogging or pain on planes, try swallowing or chewing gum during take-off and landing. This naturally opens up the Eustachian tubes, allowing the air in your middle ear to equalize. “Popping” your ears—squeezing your nostrils closed and gently blowing your nose—can also help equalize pressure.
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Ah, the chill in the air, the colours, the pumpkins patches! Autumn weather is lovely, but it also means lower temperatures, which can have an effect on different parts of your body, including your ears.
When the cold sets in
Ears have no protective fat tissue and can cool down quickly. At 59 degrees (15C), blood vessels start to constrict to keep in the warmth in the body. But because there is just a thin layer of skin protecting the nerves in the ear canal, you can experience pain in the ear. Keeping them covered during cool weather will help to prevent reduced blood flow.
Many people experience allergies in Autumn, which they may have suffered with for some months already, most commonly hay fever. Allergy symptoms may include fullness in the ear, temporary difficulty hearing or itchy ears. Most can usually be treated with over-the-counter medicines.
Sometimes seasonal allergies can cause more serious problems including dizziness (vertigo) or ringing in the ears (tinnitus). Others may have health problems that can be exacerbated by allergies. Imperial Hearing can determine if the symptoms are due to allergies or other issues.
Those earmuffs could be doing more than simply protecting the outer ear from cold temperatures. While age related hearing loss and noise induced hearing loss are the most common reasons that hearing is lost, other factors or conditions can also have an effect. When winter sets in, be sure to take the necessary precautions to protect your ears — inside and out.
Hardening ear wax
Exposing the ears to freezing conditions can result in the hardening of ear wax, resulting in blockage and impaired hearing.
Those who already wear hearing aids are at a higher risk for developing hardened ear wax, due to having a foreign object in the ear. The ear will naturally produce more wax as a result.
Imperial Wax Solutions can offer a professional and comfortable ear wax removal treatment for when the build-up has begun displaying symptoms such as a feeling of pressure in the ears, headaches, earaches or impaired hearing.
Increased risk of ear infections
Cold weather increases the risk of ear infections because it limits the circulation in the ear.
Continuous ear infections can lead to serious hearing problems over time. Limit the risk by keeping the ear, throat and neck area warm when spending time outside.
Damp hearing aids
Those whose wear hearing aids need to be aware of the risk of moisture damage during Winter. While hearing aids should function in the same way they would in the other seasons, cold weather activities could result in more moisture than normal. For example, walking long distances outdoors could transfer sweat onto your devices. Monitor your hearing aids regularly and ensure they are always kept clean and dry.
For any hearing concerns, large or small, it is important to get it looked into sooner rather than later.