Protecting and preserving your hearing health is always one of our top priorities at HES. Environmental factors play a major role in the hearing health of many of our patients throughout the year.

As we enter the halfway point (hopefully) of winter in Western New York, it is a good time to remind you that cold air can also have an impact on your hearing as well.

Here are three important things to look out for with the cold weather relative to your hearing:

  • Increased risk of ear infections:
    • Cold temperatures limit the circulation in your ear – which can play a major role in causing ear infections. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), chronic ear infections are one of the primary causes of hearing loss. Additionally, having the common cold (which means more fluid in the middle ear space) in conjunction with poor circulation is the perfect combination to affect your hearing! If you can’t differentiate between a decline in your hearing due to these factors versus a problem with your hearing aid, please call us and we can help get your problem taken care of sooner than later.
  • Risk of “Surfers Ear”:
    • Exostosis (commonly known as ‘Surfers Ear’) occurs when cold and wet environments cause abnormal bone outgrowth to form inside the ear canal, blocking the passage and impeding hearing. Early symptoms of exostosis include frequent ear infections, or trapped water inside the ear. If you or someone you know has a job that requires them to work outside a lot during the winter months – it is extra important to be aware of these symptoms.
  • Damage to Hearing Aids
    • If you wear a hearing aid that utilizes a battery, it is important to know that exposure to cold air can affect the battery life of your devices (just as it can affect the life of any device with batteries in the cold air). Additionally, condensation from wet and cold environments can cause breakdown and corrosion which could potentially damage the device.

The solution is simple. Protect your ears from the cold when you are outdoors! From hats, ear muffs, or other protective head gear. Additionally, never go without hearing protection, even if you think it is just for a short amount of time (We’re looking at you unlucky ones who have to run the snow blower after Lake Erie dumps snow on us!). If you think your hearing devices or hearing may have been affected by the cold weather, please contact our office for help on what to do.

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