January is a cold month for many places around the world, but definitely here in the United States! The cold weather brings many challenges, but one we often overlook, or perhaps are not aware of, is that cold weather can exacerbate earwax buildup and hearing loss. This article highlights 5 things you need to know about your earwax and cold weather.
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5 Things you need to know about earwax and cold weather:
- When the temperature drops, the risk of ringing in the ears and hearing loss increases. According to the Beltone Blog, this is because there is a higher risk of rogue bones (small bone growths, also known as exostosis), growing in the ear canal along with the hardening of earwax.
- The body will try to protect itself from the cold weather, and therefore rogue bones start forming to add an extra layer of protection in the ear canal. This condition is also known as "surfer's ear", due to its prevalence among surfers in cold water.
- This new bone growth constricts the ear canal, creating challenges for earwax to naturally leave the ear canal and thus, contributing to excessive earwax buildup.
- The cold weather causes earwax to harden, increasing the chances of blocking the ear canal, leading to trouble hearing properly.
- People wearing hearing aids have a greater propensity to hardened earwax, as does anyone who is inserting a "foreign object" into the ear canal.
Take caution and protect your ears!
When going out into the cold, be sure to wear proper head gear and cover those ears while outdoors. This will help keep the temperature inside your ear canal more controlled.
Of course, you can also minimize the risk of your earwax hardening and building up by safely cleaning your ears on a regular basis. Be sure to avoid harmful ear cleaning techniques such as ear candling and cotton swabs.