Did you know that cold, damp weather can affect the health of your ears, as can certain winter activities? We review how you can protect your ears during the late fall and winter months below.
Cover Your Ears
Your outer ears are comprised mostly of cartilage, with very little fat to insulate them against cold weather. This means your blood vessels will constrict blood flow in order to stay warm. This can not only be uncomfortable but also leave you susceptible to frostbite and infections. In order to prevent this from happening, be sure to cover your ears with earmuffs, a scarf or a hood.
Wear Ear Protection When Swimming
If you’re an avid swimmer who even enjoys the sport in the colder months, be sure to wear earplugs, a swim cap or other ear protection. According to one study, “Taking ear protective measures when having winter swimming can prevent the onset of the external auditory canal exostoses [bone growth] and reduce its severity.” Another term for this type of bony growth is surfer’s ear, and it develops due to prolonged exposure to cold water and/or wind.
Remove Water from the Ears
Whether you’re swimming or just taking a shower, be sure to remove any water from your ear canal. Otherwise, you can develop a painful infection known as otitis externa, or swimmer’s ear. You can remove water by tilting your head to the side for a few minutes, tugging your earlobe backward and downward or running a hair dryer on the lowest, coolest setting near your ear.
Keep Your Hearing Aids Dry
If you wear hearing aids, be sure to prevent moisture from making contact with them by wearing a hat or hood when venturing out in the rain or snow. If they do happen to get wet, invest in a dehumidifier to store them in when you’re not wearing them. This will improve their function and their lifespan.
For more information or to schedule an appointment with an ear and hearing expert, call Columbus Speech and Hearing today.