5 tips to protect your hearing this winter

Snow and winter weather is definitely part of the season, but it can also be harmful to your hearing. Here are some tips to protect both your hearing and hearing devices this winter:noisy-snow-blower

  1. Noise. Did you know that snow blowers can exceed 100 decibels? That’s loud enough to cause permanent damage to your hair cells.  A simple solution is to wear a pair of foam earplugs if you’re around any outdoors machinery. If you wear hearing aids, greater danger lies in the fact that a loud noise is further amplified by them. Always use protective earmuffs or noise-reducing headphones that fit over your ears to protect your ears and hearing aids both from the cold and potentially damaging noise levels.
  2. Falling. People with hearing loss are three times more likely to suffer a dangerous fall than those without. And the risk of falling increases even more in the winter time with the onset of snow and ice. If your vestibular or balance system is compromised due to hearing loss, you need to be especially alert for hidden ice patches, snow covered objects and slick steps. One way to minimize the risk is to invest in a pair of grips.
  3. Ear infections. Winter brings a higher risk of ear infection, in both children and adults. One of these reasons is that less blood is circulated in the cold; add that to greater risk of irritation, trapped moisture or bacteria and you have a recipe for a painful condition known as otitis media. You can reduce your risk of ear infections by keeping your ears warm and dry when you are outside in winter weather. Maintaining a healthy diet and exercising to improve blood circulation can also be helpful, especially now when resistance to infection is lower.
  4. Cold and moisture. Wind, rain, cold and freezing temperatures can shorten battery life as well as allowing moisture to build up in your hearing devices. If your Baha sound processors do become wet, an effective solution is to use a dry-aid kit overnight after removing batteries.
  5. Flying. Try not to fly if you are sick. A cold can lead to a blockage in the Eustachian tube, which will prevent the necessary equalization of pressure in the ears. A ruptured eardrum or severe infection can result, which can lead to temporary hearing loss and other problems. If you do fly and happen to experience hearing difficulties post-flight, see a hearing health care professional if your hearing doesn’t return to normal after a few days.