Can Cold Weather Affect Your Ability to Hear?

Girl Protecting Her Hearing from the Cold Weather with a Scarf


With the chilly weather that accompanies winter here to stay for a few more weeks, more and more folks are blowing their noses or sipping on cups of hot tea to stay warm. While it’s true that winter time often sees an increase in people with the sniffles, does the change in temperature also have the potential to impact our ability to hear?

In short, the answer is ‘yes.’

There are several ways that cold weather can impact your hearing. To prevent the chilly air from doing its damage, you’ll need to learn some prevention techniques. Here are a few ways chilly weather can lead to hearing problems and what you can do about it.

What Conditions Can Cold Weather Cause?

When exposed to low temperatures for considerable amounts of time, your ears may develop a unique condition called exostosis (also called surfer’s ear): As a reaction to exposure to cold air (and often cold water as well), your body can produce bone growth in the ear canal. With this in mind, it should come as no surprise that its secondary name, surfer’s ear, is derived from its prevalence among cold water surfers.

The problem with this condition is that it can negatively impact your ability to hear. Dr. Roger Henderson, in an article for Bel Marra Health, elaborates on this: “Exostosis can constrict the ear canal, contributing to increased ear wax buildup as the ear can no longer expel earwax effectively.”

We’d like to note that exostosis often requires years to develop, but is irreversible once identified. To prevent this condition, take precautions to protect your ears from the cold by wearing ear muffs or winter caps.

How Can Cold Weather Cause Your Hearing Aids to Malfunction?

Unless you know How to Prep Your Hearing Aids for the Cold, you might be putting both your aids and ears at risk. In terms of your ears, the cold weather, in conjunction with wearing hearing aids, can cause your ears to produce more wax.

Where this becomes a problem is, with more wax in your ears, you’re at a greater risk of experiencing hardened ear wax. Your hearing aids can also be negatively impacted by excess wax as well, thus making them ineffective. However, this can be easily resolved by replacing your Tubes and Domes.

In addition to wax, the cold air can cause condensation to build up in your hearing aids, which can also cause them to malfunction. One way to resolve this is by letting your hearing aids dry out at night. For the best results, store them in a Super Dri-Aid Jar.

We said it once, but we’ll say it again, wearing the appropriate cold weather gear is the best way to protect your ears and hearing from the cold. This can also prevent your aids’ batteries from dying prematurely.

But if you can, we recommend paying attention to how much time you’re spending in chilly weather, especially if you have hearing aids. The less time you’re out in the cold, the better.

What Should You Do if Your Ears Have Been Affected?

If you suspect that you may have exostosis, hardened ear wax, or any other hearing health condition, you should always consult a physician. Your physician will be able to provide the appropriate diagnosis, as well as prescribe any treatments that may be necessary.

For those already diagnosed with hearing loss, we’re here to help. Advanced Affordable Hearing offers a great selection of reasonably priced, pre-programmed hearing aids. Even better, we ship them directly to your door, so you can order and receive them right at home.

Simply give us a call at 1 (800) 804-0434 to have a pair shipped today!


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