Think of the things that can damage your ears. You probably thought of loud noises and cotton swabs, but did you think of cold weather? Yes, cold, damp weather can, in fact, negatively affect the health of your ears. We review how you can protect them this fall and winter below.
Your outer ears are made mostly of cartilage, and there’s very little fat to insulate them against cold weather. Because of this, the blood vessels can shrink in an attempt to keep the ears warm, which can cause discomfort as well as frostbite and infections. To combat this, wear earmuffs, hats or scarves around your head that you can purchase.
Wear a Swim Cap
If you’re an avid swimmer, including in the fall and winter months, it’s important that you protect your ears with a swim cap to prevent painful infections such as swimmer’s ear and surfer’s ear. Swimmer’s ear is an infection of the outer ear canal caused by water being stuck there and growing bacteria, while surfer’s ear causes bone growth as a result of cold water and wind exposure. Be sure to wear a swim cap if you go swimming in the cold months.
Dry Out Your Ears
If it’s a particularly wet season, be sure to take measures to keep your ears dry to prevent infection and discomfort. Never use cotton swabs to dry the ears. Instead, use a towel or a hairdryer on the lowest, coolest setting.
Care for Your Hearing Aids
Just like your ears, your hearing aids are susceptible to damage when exposed to extreme temperatures and moisture. This is why it’s especially important for hearing aid wearers to protect their ears during the cold months with earmuffs. It’s also essential to invest in a dehumidifier to store your devices in at night so that moisture doesn’t infiltrate and damage your devices.
For more information about keeping your ears healthy or to schedule an appointment with an ear and hearing aid expert, call ENT of Athens today.