Do changes in weather affect your ears or your hearing aids? It may not seem like an obvious connection, but hearing and changes in weather may be causing more problems than you may think. For many patients, weather changes such as shifts in pressure or especially speedy drops in temperature to almost freezing can bring about hearing problems or hearing aid malfunctions. Let’s talk about some of the issues to look out for as the weather shifts this season.
Long term exposure to cold weather can increase chances of ear infections. There is a simple explanation for this, the cold temperatures decrease circulation within the ear. The World Health Organization (WHO) point at chronic ear infections as a main cause of hearing loss. Therefore it is important to keep your ears guarded from the harsh weather with headwear of your choice. Grad some ear muffs, a hat, or a large wrap around scarf to keep your ears toasty.
Barometric Pressure Changes
The shifting weather brings about changes in barometric pressure. Sometimes, when barometric pressure levels drop quickly, the pressure outside your ears goes down before the pressure inside your ears can adjust. The fluid in your ears is very sensitive to these changes and can cause an ear popping sensation due to the pressure imbalance. Barometric pressure changes or inner ear conditions may not only cause a feeling of fullness or pressure, but can also cause conductive hearing loss as a result of sound waves being prevented from traveling to the cochlea.
Depending on how cold temperatures get, there may be a chance it gets cold enough to harden your earwax. This can cause discomfort and even blockages that can interfere with your hearing. It is vital that your do not try to remove earwax using a Q-tip or cotton swab! Although many people use this method, it can be a dangerous one. It may cause further damage so steer clear of sticking anything in your ear that is smaller than your elbow. If you think earwax is your hearing issue culprit, call us to set up an appointment so we can determine why your are experiencing difficulties with hearing.
Another great reason to protect your ears from the cold is to help prevent a condition called exostosis, commonly referred to as “Surfer’s Ear.” Prolonged exposure to strong winds, cold water, and cold, damp conditions can promote abnormal growth on the bones inside the ear canal. This kind of bone growth can block the passage and cause interference with hearing.
Hearing Technology Weather Damage
Weather doesn’t just affect your ears, it can also be damaging to your hearing technology. Time spent outside when it’s raining can expose your hearing aids to moisture and the elements. If water gets into your hearing device and interferes with the inner works of this technology, there can be damage done. But it isn’t simply wet weather that you need to protect your hearing aids from. The cold can also pose a threat to your listening devices. Hearing aid batteries, like other electronics, also usually don’t keep a charge for as long as they do in warmer weather. The answer to this problem is simple though! Just keep your hearing technology bundled and out of direct rain.
Whether or not you have hearing technology, the weather does affect your hearing health. Fortunately, all you need to do to protect your ears and your hearing aids is to prepare for moisture and cold temperatures as well as keeping bundled up if you are venturing out into the elements. If you are not sure if your hearing issues are occurring because of the weather or because of hearing damage, give us a call and we will set up your free hearing evaluation. At Wesson Hearing Aid Center all we want is for you to live your best and healthiest life!