The change from fall to winter signals that we should begin changing the way we dress, bundling up to stay warm when the cold weather arrives and snow begins to fall.
Our bodies lose a lot of heat from our heads, which ultimately impacts our extremities and core body temperature. As temperatures drop, your likelihood of getting an ear infection rises. Like the nose, the ears consist mostly of cartilage and lack any fat to insulate them and keep them warm—a likely explanation for why the ears and nose tend to be the first parts of the body that feel cold in chilly weather.
Bacterial and viral infections are more common during winter, leaving people more vulnerable to aggravating sinus infections and otitis media. Otitis media, the scientific name for an ear infection, is a condition that causes a painful inflammation and swelling in the middle ear. Ear infections are usually the result of bacteria that follows a buildup of fluid and increased pressure behind the eardrum. An ear infection is most common following an upper respiratory infection, a sore throat or a cold. A painful fluid buildup and cold ears can increase the likelihood of or contribute to hearing loss. You can reduce the risk of ear infection by keeping your ears dry and warm when you go out in cold weather. Here are three tips for protecting your ears and hearing health.
1. Cover your head and ears.
When you leave the house to step out into low temperatures, it’s crucial to have your head and ears covered. There are many fashionable ways to maintain warmth, such as wearing earmuffs and pairing them with a hat, headband or head scarf to match. Create a stylish, warm look by coordinating your headgear and ear wear with your coat, gloves and scarves.
Purchasing a scarf or a number of scarves from a reliable brand that sells quality women’s scarves ahead of winter can get you ready for dropping temperatures. You wouldn’t want to be caught unawares when a chilly breeze blows through. Shopping with a retailer of fashionable scarves—such as Chico’s—allows you to pick the scarf of your choice from a collection of square, oblong, and silk scarves. A square scarf has the versatility to match any winter outfit you create. The various colors, animal prints or abstract graphic prints of a Chico’s square scarf can add vibrancy to all looks. Transform a square scarf into a kimono, or wear it through your belt loops or around your neck. Too often, winter clothes are in a dark palette of blacks and dark blues, and the perfect scarf can really add a pop of color to your winter style.
Leave the earrings home.
While they make for great accessories, metal jewelry may contribute to feeling cooler in chilly weather. Metal earrings can act as excellent conductors, making them get cold faster than jewelry composed of other materials, which can cool your ears. During the winter, it’s best to accessorize with scarves or necklaces that won’t compromise your body heat.
3. Keep your hair dry.
Many people avoid going outside with wet hair during cold weather for fear that they will catch a cold by doing so. While wet hair may not directly lead to a cold, it can chill your earlobes and increase your chances of getting an ear infection. If water gets inside your ears when you wash your hair or moisture from wet hair drips down to your ears and remains trapped inside, it can create a moist environment that encourages bacterial growth.
For optimum hearing health ahead of winter and throughout the year, consider visiting an audiologist—a health care provider specializing in audiology and providing audiology services. Residents of Highlands Ranch, Colorado, for instance, can visit the Sound Relief Hearing Center to consult an audiologist in Highlands Ranch. The qualified audiologists at Sound Relief have an excellent education, training, and experience in speech, language, and hearing sciences. These hearing healthcare providers conduct hearing tests and tinnitus evaluations, offer high-quality hearing aids and provide treatments for tinnitus and hyperacusis. Even if you aren’t experiencing any nausea, dizziness or pain that may accompany tinnitus or other auditory conditions, consider visiting an audiologist for preventive care ahead of winter.