Can the cold weather affect your ears?
Sometimes the cause of hearing loss is something that could have been avoided, like noise, diet, or even cold weather. In the winter, it is important to protect you ears, especially when doing outdoor activities. This growth blocks the ear, causes ear infections, and can also result in hearing loss.
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.
- Fluid in the Ear. If the Eustachian tube gets blocked, fluid builds up inside your child's middle ear. This makes the perfect breeding ground for bacteria that cause infections. Your doctor may look inside your child's ear with an otoscope, which can blow a puff of air to make his eardrum vibrate.
- Signs that you have an ear infection rather than an earache because of a cold are: The pain does not go away with your other cold symptoms. Your hearing is dulled. “The hearing loss with an ear infection is typically mild — it's the equivalent of putting a good earplug in your ear,” says Dr. Rosenfeld.
- A sinus infection primarily affects your nose, but symptoms can extend to the ears as well. The sinus-ear connection stems from the fact that your sinuses and ears are connected; therefore, clogged and congested sinuses also affect the ears. Over-the-counter pain medications can help relieve ear pain.
What happens if an ear infection is left untreated? Ear infections can lead to more serious complications, including mastoiditis (a rare inflammation of a bone adjacent to the ear), hearing loss, perforation of the eardrum, meningitis, facial nerve paralysis, and possibly -- in adults -- Meniere's disease.
- If the symptoms have gone on for longer than six weeks, you may have long-term (chronic) Eustachian tube dysfunction. It is important to check there are no underlying problems.
- Ear infections are not contagious. However, many children develop infections following a cold or other viral infection, and those infections are contagious.
- The treatment of a middle ear infection depends on how bad the symptoms are and what's causing the infection. Many infections will go away on their own and the only treatment necessary is medication for pain. Up to 80% of ear infections may go away without antibiotics.
Updated: 18th November 2019