Winters are often cold and wet, which can be harmful to your ears and can also affect your hearing. 

Seasonal allergies and upper respiratory infections due to the cold weather can result in inflammation and fluid accumulation behind your middle ear. This may lead to acute otitis media (pain and swelling of ears) and redness, which may result in a temporary hearing loss.

With proper care and foresight, you can enjoy winters and keep your ears healthy at the same time.           

Here are some tips to take care of your ears this winter:

1. Cover Your Ears. When your ears are exposed to cold, they can develop exostosis. It is a condition in which there is abnormal bone growth in your ear, resulting in the narrowing of your ear canal. 

This can block your eardrum (a flap of skin that helps in hearing), affecting your hearing and increasing the risk of infection.

While going out in winters, cover your ears with warm clothing such as scarfs, caps, mufflers, etc. You can also use earplugs and noise-cancelling headphones while operating heavy machines like snow blowers to protect your eardrum.

2. Keep Your Ears Dry. During winters, water in your ear canal can increase your chance of developing painful ear infections. 

Be careful when you swim, use a sauna or shower. You must dry your ear canal as soon as you are done with them. 

Wearing silicone earplugs can also be helpful, as they will help prevent water from entering your ear canal, keeping them dry.

3. Check Your Hearing Aids. Cold climate can deteriorate the functioning of your hearing aids, if not kept properly. 

Cold conditions can drain the batteries faster or could cause an electronic failure of the device. 

In winter, you should always keep spare batteries, and if your batteries become too cold, warm them up in your hands. Never use a lighter or a heater to warm up your hearing device or batteries. 

4. Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle. Your ears, like your body, are affected by your lifestyle. Practice a healthy lifestyle routine for your overall well being. 

Below are some tips on how you can keep your ears healthy:

  • Drink plenty of water.

  • Maintain proper hand hygiene before and after eating.

  • Include more fruits and vegetables, complex carbs, lean protein and healthy fats like omega-3 in your diet.

  • Exercise regularly to stimulate blood circulation to your ears.

  • Avoid cold drinks, processed, fried and junk food.

  • Avoid smoking.

  • Avoid drinking alcohol. 

If you develop an ear infection or have trouble hearing, then do not neglect it. 

Ear infections, if left untreated can cause serious ear damage and hearing loss. Therefore, if you develop symptoms of an ear infection, consult your doctor immediately.

Disclaimer: This article is written by the Practitioner for informational and educational purposes only. The content presented on this page should not be considered as a substitute for medical expertise. Please "DO NOT SELF-MEDICATE" and seek professional help regarding any health conditions or concerns. Practo will not be responsible for any act or omission arising from the interpretation of the content present on this page.