In Minnesota, we’re all familiar with long, cold winters. We’re pros at bundling up; warm sweaters, cosy scarves and hats are closest must-haves. But did you know that cold weather can affect your hearing? Cold temperatures can cause physical changes in your ear which can result in pain, tinnitus, dizziness, and sometimes hearing loss.
Exostosis of the ear canal is a condition involving abnormal bone growth in the ear canal. Also known as surfer’s ear, it is one of the more severe, yet preventable conditions that can be caused by repeatedly exposing the ears to extreme cold weather.
Surfer’s ear is the result of your body trying to protect your ears from cold water and wind. It often involves bone growing on top of an existing bone. It causes the bone surrounding your ear canal to thicken, which can impact your hearing. It increases risk of infection, and a common symptom of exostosis are frequent ear infections.
As the name would suggest, it’s a condition most common in surfer’s. It can, however, also develop if you do not appropriately protect your ears in the cold weather. Surfer’s ear is known to cause tinnitus, and can in some cases cause hearing loss. Preventative measures include keeping your ears warm with a long hat or ear warmers. If you plan on swimming, wear a cap or surf plugs.
In 2015, the European Archives of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology published a research study that looked at links between seasons and Google searches for the phrase ‘Tinnitus.’ According to the study, “Our findings indicate that there are significant seasonal trends for Internet search queries for tinnitus, with a zenith in winter months.” Although more research into this needed, the results correlate to some of the more common things associated with winter that link to tinnitus:
Cold, damp weather can cause condensation inside hearing aids, which can lead to water damage. Hearing aid batteries can also be affected by the cold, so make sure to keep extra spare batteries during the colder months.
Here are some tips to protect your device from moisture:
We’ve still got a few cold months ahead of us. But don’t let that get you down! Follow the tips above to protect your hearing and your hearing aids during the winter. If you’d like to discuss any of the above information in further detail, why not schedule an appointment? Call today on (507) 208-7002, or click here to request an appointment.