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Summer Hearing Loss

How Weather Temperatures Affect Your Hearing

Climate temperatures can impact our hearing in surprising ways. Extreme cold or heat can affect ear health, leading to infections, tinnitus, and worsening hearing loss. By understanding how temperature changes influence our ears, we can better protect our hearing throughout the year.

Understanding Hearing and Its Sensitivity to Temperature

The ear consists of three parts (inner ear, middle ear, and outer ear) that work together to help the brain perceive sound as music, speech, or message, like the "phone ringing." The ear transforms the sound waves it picks into electrical signals before channeling them to the brain, where they are interpreted and connected to other experiences and impressions.

Unlike other body organs, the ear can be very sensitive to temperature changes since it is mainly made of cartilage and does not have much insulating fat. That means it can quickly get cold when the temperature drops. The ear is also sensitive to a rise in temperature since hot weather can make the conditions in the ear canal intensify and cause an infection.

The ear sometimes tries to protect itself from temperature-related damage by relying on various mechanisms. For instance, when exposed to cold weather, it can grow extra bones (bone spurs) in the ear canal. However, bone spurs are not particularly good because they can lead to problems such as tinnitus and ear infections.

Cold Weather and Its Effects on Hearing

Cold weather increases the risk of ear infections since low temperatures limit the circulation in the ear. It can also cause swollen glands, which, in return, may tamper with the ear's ability to drain fluid. The fluid builds up in the ear, setting the stage for infections. When ear infections occur continuously, they can cause serious issues, such as dizziness, headaches, and even hearing loss. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), ear infections are one of the leading causes of hearing loss.

Hot Weather and Its Effects on Hearing

Dehydration is common in hot weather, and it can exacerbate tinnitus by impacting the fluid levels in the inner ear. People with tinnitus often hear noises no one else hears. These noises include sizzling, whistling, buzzing, hissing, blowing, roaring, etc. Hot and humid weather can also lead to higher levels of moisture in the ear, which, in return, can stimulate the glands in the ear canal to produce more earwax. Moreover, engaging in summer activities, such as water sports and swimming, can lead to water exposure, making the existing earwax soften and expand. When earwax softens, it can easily stick to the walls of ear canals and cause blockages.

Tips to Protect Your Hearing in Various Weather Conditions

Since dehydration can affect the fluid levels in your inner ear, it is important that you stay hydrated by drinking water as recommended by experts. Furthermore, seek shade to protect your body from overheating and dehydration when you are out in hot and humid weather. It would help if you also used a dehumidifier to lower humidity levels in your home. In winter, keep cold away from your ears by wearing earmuffs, a hood, or a scarf.

Contact Us Today!

Weather temperatures can cause ear infections and increase earwax buildup. For this reason, you should take better care of your hearing health by covering your ears in cold weather and staying hydrated in hot weather. Contact Beltone Dallas Fort Worth today and start taking care of your hearing health with a free hearing evaluation.