Audiologists are healthcare professionals who diagnose and treat hearing
Can the Weather Impact Your Hearing?
You ask the same question every day, what is the weather today? The answer determines what you will wear if you need an umbrella or even if the activity you had planned will need to be rescheduled or not. But very few ask the same question to take precautionary measures for the sake of their hearing.
Unless you are driving on a motorcycle or in a convertible with the top off, you would believe that the wind cannot affect your hearing. That is a misconception many people make. In the air currents, there is debris, dust and pollen. There are over 60 million people in the USA who experience hay fever. The chemicals released into the body when the allergens are triggered cause irritation to the nose and sinuses. Sinus congestion can affect the pressure in your ears, causing you to have an earache and some hearing loss.
Your earwax is a defense mechanism trapping dust and other particles from entering your ears. Earwax is made from sedum, sweat, skin cells and dirt. If you are in a very dusty area, like the desert, the amount of dust in the wind can cause your body to overproduce earwax. This can cause mild hearing loss and tinnitus. It is recommended that you do not put any objects in your ears. An audiologist will safely remove the excessive earwax by either curettage, suction using a special ear canal vacuum or irrigation.
The extreme drop in temperature heralds in the winter. Snow, cold winds and icy rain are all common factors of the season. However, while you pile on the layers of clothing to assist your body to keep a healthy body temperature, your body also sets up its own defense mechanism against the winter elements for your ears.
If you are continuously exposed to cold weather, your body starts to grow exostosis in your outer ear canal. This growth squeezes the ear canal close like a barrier, refusing the cold wind and water entry into the ear, but on the flip side of the coin, it will cause you hearing loss.
Air pressure on its own can impact your hearing. The decline in air pressure from autumn to spring causes the muscles, tendons and tissues to expand, resulting in an increased stiffness because of the exerting pressure on the joints. Stiffness in your ears might not be the only symptom you may have, but also balance and hearing loss.
It's the same when you drive up or drown a mountain, and you feel your eardrums building up pressure, your hearing becomes muffled, you might hear a buzz and then they pop to release the pressure.
Unless you are standing outside when a typhoon, hurricane or tsunami is on its way, the chances are slim that the amount of water from average rain will give you swimmers ears. However, the rain can play a factor in impacting your hearing when you are inside a building. Tin roofs amplify the sound of raindrops.
This can cause you frustration, lack of concentration and even a buzzing in your ears. In addition, the loud sounds can be so overbearing that you are unable to hear the person next to you.
The well-being of your hearing capabilities is in your hands. So next time you plan your outfit for the day and you see that the weather is cold or windy, take precautions by wearing earmuffs or even a beanie that reaches over your ears.