This weekend was daylight savings time once again; as we “spring forward” we are reminded that Spring is just around the corner. Soon we will be enjoying warmer weather and blooming flowers everywhere we go. Along with these pleasant things, however, come a few less pleasant changes: rainy days, erratic temperatures and seasonal allergies. Some of these things can mess with our hearing, but fortunately there are things we can do to protect it.
Changing Weather Conditions
Have you ever felt a strange sensation of fullness in your ears when the weather changes? If so, you’re not alone: weather changes often come with changes in barometric pressure, and the fluid in the inner ear can be sensitive to these pressure changes, affecting hearing. If you suffer from seasonal allergies, you may feel it even more intensely.
Springtime weather changes can be especially irritating to those with Meniere’s disease, because the chambers in the inner ear can bulge and the fluid may become backed up, causing discomfort as well as difficulty hearing normally. The blockage can become so severe that tinnitus or vertigo can result.
An even more common irritant in springtime is seasonal allergies. Those suffering with seasonal allergies may experience sinus pressure or sneezing, and since the ears are connected with the sinus passages, pressure can build in the ears as well.
Since seasonal allergies in springtime affect up to 40 percent of children and between 10 and 30 percent of adults, as many as 60 million Americans may experience sinus pressure, sneezing, itchy, watery eyes and ear pressure, which can affect hearing temporarily.
Continuous pressure in the inner ear or frequent ear infections resulting from allergies, however, can cause permanent hearing damage, so it becomes important to address this pressure build-up if it is a regular problem.
You can help alleviate pressure and fluid build-up with over-the-counter remedies such as decongestants or antihistamines. Exercise and eating fruits and vegetables can also help. Certain fruits and vegetables can act as a diuretic and encourage fluid draining. Examples of these types of foods are watermelon, grapes, asparagus, bell peppers, and celery.
Spring-time and Hearing Aids
With the warmer and wetter weather come challenges for hearing aids as well. You may need to pay closer attention to the maintenance and care of your hearing aids during this time of year. Allergens such as bee pollen can potentially clog the microphone ports, so always be sure to clean your hearing aids regularly and replace the mic port covers when needed.
The heat, rain and humidity that often accompany spring and summer can also introduce more moisture to your hearing aids, as it can build up in the tubing or cause static due to build-up in the microphone or receiver. Always be sure to dry your hearing aids thoroughly when going out in wet or very humid weather.
The first step to halting hearing loss and preventing further damage is to recognize your situation. Come in today for a hearing screening and formulate a strategy to train your brain to listen actively and effectively.