Dec 04, 2018
It’s that time again! Amongst all the gift wrapping, Christmas shopping and family time, understandably health care is often the last thing on your mind. But in the colder seasons, there are a couple of easy steps you can take so you don’t have to give your ear health a second thought this winter.
Keep Your Immune System Strong
At this time of year, you are more susceptible to colds and flu. Amongst many less-than-welcome symptoms like blocked noses, chesty coughs and sore throats, a form of hearing loss can also sometimes be experienced when you’re in the middle of a nasty cold. The sudden impairment to your hearing occurs as a result of a blocked or swollen Eustachian tube. The Eustachian tube connects your middle ear to your throat and controls the pressure in your middle ear. If it's function is affected, it can cause a build-up of fluid or congestion in your middle ear, which reduces the hearing.
This kind of hearing loss is normally temporary, and once your immune system kicks in your hearing will go back to normal. On rare occasions, the flu virus can damage the sensory hair cells in your inner ear which could have a more long-term effect. If you have flu and your hearing becomes impaired, you should visit your GP to reduce the risk of damaging your hearing.
Try and keep your immune system at its best so it can fight off any viruses before you feel the symptoms of cold and flu. Getting enough sleep and keeping a balanced diet is the best ways to benefit your overall health, including your ears. Remember to keep your diet full of fruit and veg, and stay hydrated. Check out our tips for healthy eating for your ears for more information about the effect your diet has on your hearing.
Another effect of cold weather on your ears is the increased risk of ear infections. Low temperatures affect your circulation – you’ll notice how your hands and feet are normally coldest when you spend a lot of time outside! But it’s the same effect on your ears that increases the chance of developing ear infections.
Decreased circulation in your ears can also cause dizziness and even tinnitus, but these can be prevented by keeping the circulation in your ears at its best by keeping warm when you’re outside and wrapping up well! Ear muffs, hats, scarves, or a hood on your coat will all help keep you warm and your ears safe against the risk of infection.
Don’t Neglect Your Hearing Aids!
Hearing aid technology has been adapted for almost every setting, but the harsh winter weather can take its toll on them too! Sudden changes in temperature as you go from the cosiness of your home to the bitter chill outside can cause condensation to form in your hearing aids. Moisture from this condensation can affect the mechanism inside. Make sure you clean them regularly, and store in a cool dry place when you are not wearing them.
It is also worth making sure you are well stocked in batteries for your hearing aids over the festive period. Extremely cold conditions can make the batteries in your hearing aids drain more quickly than usual. Depending on where you purchase your hearing aid batteries, the delivery times may be longer, and shops may be shut over bank holidays. Make sure you don’t miss a thing, and keep well stocked in hearing aid batteries just in case!
Get In Touch
Our hearing assessments won’t affect your Christmas budget – they’re free of charge and can just take a matter of minutes. If you have any concerns about your hearing or the health of your ears, you can book a free hearing assessment online or get in touch with your local THCP practice.