With Thanksgiving now behind us and Halloween just around the corner, it won’t be long until the temperatures start to drop, the snow begins to fall and winter weather will officially be here with us in Ontario.
In fact, The Weather Network has predicted that Ontario will have temperatures below normal this winter, as well as “heightened potential for extended periods of severe cold."
It’s important to take care of yourself and stay healthy in the winter, but did you know that cold temperatures can actually cause physical changes in your ears that could lead to pain, dizziness, tinnitus and even hearing loss?
To help you understand what symptoms you should look out for and how to protect your hearing during the winter months, York Hearing Clinic has created a list of some of the key hearing issues people experience during cold temperatures.
1 - Exostosis
Exostosis, also called osteoma or “surfer's ear,” is a condition in which a benign growth of new bone forms on top of existing bone. When it comes to ears, this can occur in the ear canal during the winter as the body tries to provide a protective barrier to cold water and wind.
The growth of this new bone can interfere with the reception of sounds as well as the ear’s ability to produce and expel earwax - this increases the risk of developing ear infections and can also cause pain, ringing in the ears (tinnitus) and even hearing loss.
The solution for protecting your ears against exostosis is actually very easy. You can either limit the amount of time you are exposed to cold air and winds by being outside less, or if you love being outdoors then simply limit your exposure by wearing a hat or earmuffs.
2 - Hardened earwax
Extremely cold temperatures can cause earwax to harden, and this can lead to blockages that impede your ability to hear. An earwax blockage can lead to symptoms such as earache, tinnitus, hearing loss, dizziness, headaches, infections and much more.
As we covered in a recent blog, titled ‘How Do I Remove Excess Earwax That’s Affecting My Hearing?’, home-remedies that claim to cure excessive earwax and ear blockages can actually cause hearing loss. If earwax is a concern, speak to a hearing professional who can properly diagnose and treat your symptoms.
3 - Hearing aid maintenance
The winter months bring heavy snowfall, and with that comes an increased amount of moisture that can get into your hearing aids. Not only that, but frequent changes in temperature, such as walking from the freezing temperatures outside into a warm house, causes condensation.
If this moisture isn’t removed from your hearing aids, it could corrode the device and prevent sound from reaching the microphone. This will result in you not being able to hear anywhere near as well as you should be able to.
The main thing to remember is that you need to maintain your hearing aids, and there are a few simple steps you need to take to do this successfully. You can read about those steps in our blog ‘5 Maintenance Tips That Will Protect Your Hearing Aids This Winter’.
If you experience discomfort or hearing loss in the winter months, visit a hearing professional.
Have you experienced hearing issues in previous winters and want to avoid doing so again? Then speak to a hearing specialist.
A hearing professional will be able to properly diagnose your specific hearing issue, and then come up with a solution that significantly improves your hearing lifestyle. Hearing tests are quick, inexpensive and painless - but the benefits of finding a hearing loss solution are priceless.
Are you looking to book an appointment with York Hearing Clinic? Contact our team of experts today. We would be more than happy to answer any hearing-related questions you have.