Winter and cold & flu season is coming
The cold and flu season is coming. Everyone is familiar with the dreaded symptoms of a cold or flu, but did you know that those symptoms can include hearing loss? The hearing loss associated with a cold or flu generally comes as a result of the congestion build up in the sinuses and ears. Like the other symptoms, the hearing loss is usually temporary but can add to the misery of being sick.
How the Cold or Flu Causes Hearing Loss
Hearing loss when you are sick is not uncommon. When you have a cold or the flu, congestion builds up in the middle ear which makes it hard for the sound waves to travel through the ear. In addition, the eustachian tubes in the back of the throat can become blocked and their function is to help regulate air pressure in the middle ear. Either of these issues can muffle sound and make it difficult to discern speech. Other related ear related symptoms during a cold or flu can include balance problems and/or tinnitus (ringing in the ears). The resulting conductive hearing loss usually dissipates along with all the other cold and flu symptoms.
In some very rare occasions, the flu virus can affect the nerves in the ear and cause permanent hearing damage. If you do experience hearing loss during a sickness, keep your doctor or audiologist in the loop, especially if the hearing loss isn’t getting better when other symptoms begin to go away.
Does Cold Weather Cause Ear Infections?
When the weather turns cold, many people experience pain or discomfort in their ears, nose and throat. People often confuse symptoms caused by cold weather
Contrary to popular belief, cold weather does not cause ear infections. An ear infection is caused by bacteria in the upper respiratory system that travels up the Eustachian tube into the middle ear.
Even though cold weather doesn’t cause the issue, it can make symptoms more pronounced. If you or your child are experiencing symptoms, seek treatment. Studies show that recurring ear infections can cause hearing loss.
How do you prevent cold-induced ear pain?
While you can’t prevent an ear infection from developing, you can prevent ear pain that comes from decreased blood circulation in cold weather. Whenever you’re outside, be sure to cover your ears with a winter hat or ear muffs. This will provide warmth and protect you after coming back inside. Another solution to protecting your ears is also getting a custom hearing protection device to wear in the ear under the ear muffs. This will block out the cold as well as high intense noise. To learn more check out dB Blockers