The winter season is an exciting time of year full of holiday magic, and for much outdoor snow-filled fun. But, while you’re enjoying all that this festive season has to offer, make sure you’re taking the proper steps to protect your hearing while doing so. Whether you’re out in the cold, or inside in the warmth, there are specific conditions that can compromise your hearing health throughout the winter season.
In particularly chilly areas of the country, snow is a common occurrence. And with snow comes snowmobiles, snowblowers, and snow plows. Whether you’re the one operating these machines, or you’re merely the one outside close to the action, make sure you take the proper steps to protect your hearing. Simply using foam earplugs available at most pharmacies can give you the protection you need from the 100+ decibels of sound these machines create.
For children, the winter season can bring on a whole slew of new toys thanks to holidays such as Hanukkah or Christmas. Even though federal decibel regulations are in place to protect children from excessive toy noise, many children may tend to hold these noise makers too close to their ears, increasing the risk of damage to their hearing.
As we spend more time indoors in the winter, our chances of passing germs around become exponentially bigger. Colds and flu symptoms easily lead to ear infections, that if not treated properly, can cause temporary, sometimes permanent hearing damage. If you or your kids become sick, be sure to increase your fluid intake, stay warm, and get plenty of rest so that any cold or flu does not lead to infection.
If you spend a lot of time being active outdoors during the winter, make sure the sweat and moisture that accumulates underneath scarfs, hats, or earmuffs do not collect. Warmth and moisture is a recipe for flourishing bacteria. Excessive warmth and moisture in the ear caused by sweat can cause ear infections as well.
The winter season is the scene for holiday travel year after year, especially air travel. Many people fly when they are sick, which can adversely affect hearing due to ruptured eardrums or ear infections that come as a natural consequence. Avoid flying while sick as much as possible to preserve healthy hearing.
Healthy Hearing Aids
If you are a hearing aid wearer, the cold weather is not a friend. Cold temperatures can shorten the battery life of your hearing aid, while excessive moisture from sweat while working outside can damage the integrity of the hearing aid itself. You may want to invest in an extra hearing aid battery or two.
Indoor Social Events
Whether you’re enjoying the holidays at a family or friend gathering at home, or off to a sports arena to watch a game of hockey or basketball, the noise in either situation can reach well above safe levels. Carrying a small set of foam earplugs can do enough to keep your hearing protected.