Autumn is finally here, and the change in temperatures affects our immune system. In this article, we explain why the lowering temperatures can damage your auditory system and we will share a list of tips for looking after your hearing health during the autumn months.
Why colds can damage your ears and hearing
We are just entering a season of the year that tends to challenge our immune system, increasing the probabilities of suffering from common colds or upper respiratory tract infections that can lead to inflammation in the inner ear, which is also known as otitis.
Have you ever asked yourself why a cold or the flu sometimes affects your hearing? According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the influenza virus is one of the most common during the colder months and causes fever, a cough, muscle pain, headaches and a runny nose. This excess mucus can cause hearing problems if it reaches the ear canal by means of the Eustachian tube, and can lead to hearing loss and a feeling of blocked ears.
Children and the elderly are the most vulnerable to the flu as they have less robust immune systems. Additionally, children’s Eustachian tubes are not yet fully developed, which means it is easier for mucus and bacteria to travel to the ear from the nose and throat.
9 tips for caring for your hearing health in autumn
- Avoid sudden changes of temperature, and make sure you wrap up to avoid leaving your nose and throat exposed to the elements.
- Practice good ear hygiene by removing any excess wax from your ears after every shower. Never try to clean your ear canal by inserting cotton buds or other objects in your ear.
- Avoid poorly ventilated, enclosed spaces, particularly if they are smoky, as exposure to tobacco smoke increases mucus production.
- Teach the youngest members of the family to blow their noses by clearing one nostril at a time. This will avoid mucus being pushed towards the ear canal due to pressure in the middle ear.
- Eat a balanced diet that is rich in omega 3, zinc and magnesium with plenty of foods that contain vitamins A, B, C and E to boost your immune system and are good for your hearing.
- Wash your hands thoroughly to keep them free from the germs that can lead to upper respiratory tract infections.
- Have your hearing checked regularly, particularly if you have suffered an ear infection.
- If you use hearing aids, clean them regularly with a soft, dry cloth and avoid contact with water, excessive humidity and sources of direct heat.
- Treat the symptoms of flu and ask to have the flu vaccination every year if you are over 60 or are in any of the risk groups.
Do you have any more tips on fighting colds and flu to avoid hearing problems? Feel free to share them with us by leaving a comment here. 🙂