Winter can expose us to colds, flus and other viruses and infections. But did you know colder weather can increase the risk of ear infections? We’ve devised the best winter health tips for your ears to protect your hearing health during the chilly months.
1. Keep your ears warm and dry
Earmuffs and beanies can protect your ears* from the cool if you have to venture outside. If you’re a hearing aid user, earmuffs and beanies double to protect your devices from the elements.
2. Avoid air travel and high altitudes
In the current climate, this tip may seem like a no brainer. However if you do have interstate air travel planned, reconsider the need to fly if you have a cold or the flu. Since colds can cause blockages in our ears, changing altitudes can lead to extreme discomfort and other problems.
3. Be extra mindful when playing sport
Do you love winter sports? Are you a ski bunny? Do you play outdoor sports in the cold months? Be extra mindful of your ears! Repeat exposure to extreme cold and wet conditions can lead to a rare condition called ‘Exostosis’.** This condition, also known as ‘Surfer’s Ear’, usually effects those who spend lots of time in or around cold water. This repeat exposure of the ears to cold conditions causes abnormal bone growths around the ear canal. So when you rug up for winter sports, don’t forget your ears.
4. Look after your hearing aids
Added moisture in the atmosphere isn’t good for hearing aids. Keep your hearing aids dry by wearing a hat, beanie or earmuffs when you go outside.
You can also make use of accessories like dehumidifiers.** Talk to your clinician about a suitable dehumidifier for your hearing aids.
If your hearing aids do get damp, wipe them down with a clean, dry cloth as soon as possible. If you can, leave them out to dry overnight in a safe place.
Hearing aid users may also find that cold weather shortens battery life.** Keep spare batteries or a charger with you, just in case.
If you’d like to learn more about hearing health or hearing aid maintenance, call the Audika Hearing Care Helpline on 1800 340 631 or book a hearing check.
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*Deaf unity. 20 December 2019. How to maintain good ear health in winter. Available here. [11 June 2020]
**Healthy Hearing. 3 December 2019. Tips to protect your hearing this winter. Available here. [11 June 2020]