Woman protecting her ears with earmuffs

Jack Frost is not just nipping at your nose, he’s also affecting your ears as well. Winter weather can have a significant effect on your ear health, as cold air and snow become more prevalent. It’s important to know how this chilly season can lead to severe conditions, including infections, and what you can do to prevent them.

Cover your ears

Your external ears are mainly comprised of a cartilage framework with minimal fat for insulating against cold weather. As a result, they are affected quite quickly as the blood vessels in the ear constrict blood flow to stay warm. Aside from being uncomfortable, exposure to cold can also leave you susceptible to frostbite and infections.

To prevent this, make sure that your ears stay warm with snug-fitting earmuffs or warm hats.

Limit moisture buildup in your ear canal

Sledding on a snowy day or staying active while bundled up can increase your risk of moisture buildup in your ear. Additionally, cold temperatures can make your natural earwax harden and more difficult to get out. Excess moisture and wax buildup can set up a breeding ground for bacteria to grow in your ear, causing a painful outer ear infection (otitis externa).

After spending time in the snow or sweating, make sure to wipe your ears gently to remove extra moisture. Avoid using Q-tips directly in the ear canal as that can push ear wax further down and muffle your hearing.

Keep your hearing aids dry

Chilly weather can cause issues for everyone, but those with hearing aids might run into additional problems. Frigid temperatures along with snow and rain can impact the batteries in hearing aids. This can make the device malfunction or even unusable. They too can also create condensation buildup as mentioned above.

To extend the lifespan of your hearing aids, dry them off after any exposure to snow and rain, including in the battery compartment. You can also wear earmuffs over them when it’s windy. Finally, a hearing aid dehumidifier can be an excellent tool if you’re more prone to being in a colder environment.

Enjoy your time outside this winter. If you are experiencing ear pain or suspect that you might have an ear infection, make an appointment with CEENTA today. Our ENT specialists across nearly twenty locations in North and South Carolina have expertise in diagnosing and treating ear conditions. In addition, our audiologists can guide you to the right pair of hearing aids to fit your lifestyle. Schedule your next ENT appointment with CEENTA online. For hearing tests and consultations with an audiologist, call 704-295-3000.

This blog is for informational purposes only. For specific medical questions, please consult your doctor. New patients can make appointments online with our ENT doctors in North and South Carolina. Current patients can also make appointments through myCEENTAchart with physicians they have already seen.


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