As if winter wasn’t bad enough already. You were already busy calculating how many layers you need to combat today’s wind chill (don’t forget your scarf) and now you have to start thinking about how you can minimize the negative effects of winter on your hearing?
Winter–and the ways in which we cope with winter–can have some serious and detrimental effects on your hearing and if you’re wearing one, your hearing aid. Luckily, there are some easy things you can do to minimize the negative effects of winter on your hearing.
What’s winter’s deal, anyway, and what does it have against your ears?
If you’re anything like me, sometimes it feels like winter is out to get you. It’s cold, it’s windy, it’s dry (maybe your skin itches like crazy). And now it’s coming for your hearing. Great. Thanks, winter. Lovely.
Okay, so winter’s not actually coming for your hearing (notice how I’m refraining from a Game of Thrones joke right now… you’re welcome). But winter does produce some real risk for your hearing and any hearing devices you might be using:
Ear infections are more common in the winter. Even small amounts of liquid in your ear can turn into an infection in the winter.
People tend to get ill more often in the winter. It’s not necessarily because you are cold. It’s because you stay inside (where it’s warm) and, well, so does everyone else! The germs are all contained inside your workspace, your living space, your eating space–just ready to spread! (Washing your hands regularly can help protect you in the winter.)
So how can you take care of yourself? You know the possible negative effects, but what can you do about it? There are several steps you can take to minimize the detrimental effects that winter might have on your hearing:
Keep your hearing aids dry
It’s a good idea to wear your hearing aids during the day, even outside. But if it’s wet or snowing, you’ll want to make sure you’re placing those hearing aids in a dehumidifying storage container in order to mitigate any damage the moisture from the snow may have caused.
Get out more
Force yourself to get out in the winter. You don’t have to go snowshoeing or skiing. Activities as simple as lunch with friends or trips to the movies can keep your brain engaged and your hearing cognition on track.
Practice good ear hygiene
You’ll want to make sure that you keep your ears nice and clean–and dry. Although, do not use ear swabs to do this. Cotton swabs are terrible when it comes to your ears, so just steer clear. A nice towel and your finger will do the trick.
Talk about your concerns
If you are getting recurring ear infections or are having trouble with your hearing aids it’s important to discuss these with your hearing specialist so you can plan accordingly and make sure that you’re comfortable with the weather. Winter is a bummer, sure, but with a few precautions, you can help minimize the negative effects of winter on your hearing.