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Tips to Keep Your Ears Healthy in Autumn

Tips to Keep Your Ears Healthy in Autumn

The days are just a bit shorter, the weather is just a bit cooler and thoughts of Halloween and Thanksgiving are on your mind. It’s fall. There are so many things to do and thinking about your ear health is probably pretty low on the list! However, some fall activities can affect your ear health and hearing. Here are some tips to keep your ears healthy in autumn.

Seasonal allergies and your ears

Millions of people suffer from allergies, which mainly occur in the fall and spring. Autumn is best known for hay fever, but pollen counts are still high in many parts of the country, and dust and pet dander are also flying. Because allergies can affect your ears as well as your eyes, nose and throat, it’s important to consider how to treat the symptoms.

The most common symptoms affecting ears are itching, fullness, difficulty hearing and earaches. These can often be treated by over-the-counter allergy medicines, such as antihistamines and decongestants.

Sometimes an allergic reaction can lead to a temporary loss of hearing when the middle ear is clogged with mucus. This is called a conductive hearing loss and usually goes away when you treat your allergies.

Colds and flu are also in the autumn air and can have the same symptoms as allergies. Be sure to know the difference and see your health care provider if any symptoms last more than a few days.

Weather and your hearing

Cooler temperatures mean it’s time to pull out the hats and scarves. When temperatures dip below 60 degrees, your ears become vulnerable to the cold. Ears have no protective fat tissue, so they cool down quickly. There is only a thin layer of skin protecting the nerves in the ear canal, and cooler weather (along with wind) may cause discomfort in your ear canal. Covering your ears when you’re outside for longer periods of time will help keep them warm and healthy.

The weather also can affect hearing aid batteries, possibly draining them faster. If you wear hearing aids, it’s a good idea to keep a spare set of batteries on hand as it gets colder outside.

Protecting your ears when outdoors

It’s not just the weather than can affect ear health in the fall. Noise exposure is also an issue. Football games and outdoor sports can get loud, exposing your ears to high decibel levels for a prolonged period. Leaf blowers, weed trimmers and other power tools can cause hearing damage, as can some hunting activity. Foam earplugs can help reduce noise levels during outdoor sports without affecting your enjoyment. Headphone-style earmuffs can keep noise out during yard work or hunting.

Fall is a time for family fun! With plenty of things to do outside, a little common sense goes a long way to keep your ears healthy and happy so you can enjoy the season.