You know that advancing age and exposure to loud noises can affect the health of your ear, but did you know that the moisture and cold temperatures of late fall and winter can, too? Below we review how you can protect your ears from cold weather this season.
Cover Your Ears
Because your outer ears are comprised mainly of cartilage and minimal fat, they are not insulated against the cold weather. This means that your blood vessels may constrict to stay warm. This can be uncomfortable and also leave you susceptible to infections and exostoses, which describes bony growths on the ear due to exposure to cold and wind. To prevent this, cover your ears with earmuffs, hats or scarves.
If the season is wet as well as cold, you’ll also need to make an effort to keep your ears dry to prevent infection. Avoid using Q-tips; instead, dry your ears with a towel or use a hairdryer on the lowest, coolest setting.
Remove Impacted Earwax
Since cold weather can cause your earwax to harden in your ear canal, meaning it can no longer work its way out on its own, and it can become impacted. To prevent this, you should stay bundled up while going outside to places such as Auburndale Park. To remove impacted earwax, try over-the-counter eardrops to soften it first, then irrigate the ears in the warm shower. Again, do not use Q-tips. If this doesn’t work, see a professional at Topeka ENT to have it removed.
Take Care of Your Hearing Aids
Just like your ears, your hearing aids are also susceptible to damage due to extreme temperatures and moisture. When you can, stay indoors where you can control the temperature, and always wear ear protection when venturing out in the cold. To combat moisture, invest in a dehumidifier to store your devices in at night. If you don’t have one, you should at least open the battery doors at night so moisture can more easily evaporate.
For more information or to schedule an appointment with an ear and hearing expert, call Topeka ENT today.