People are always looking forward to spring. After a cold winter, everyone rejoices in the green grass, bird singing, and warm sunny days. Spring is a time of rebirth after winter oblivion.
However, along with flowering and weather changes spring allergies come, which have a significant effect on the human body. Instead of enjoying the beauty of nature, people have to seek help.
How do weather changes affect hearing?
Spring is a wonderful time that we look forward to with impatience and excitement, which cannot be explained. However, instead of pleasant walks in the park, people often begin to experience health problems, including hearing problems. A lot of people turn to Audiology Island for help with clogged ears at this time of year. At the same time, people do not always understand what is happening, because only a week ago everything was fine.
Few people realize that weather changes are to blame for their problems; many are simply not ready for them.
Seasonal allergies and stuffy ears are closely related. As I have previously mentioned, spring is the rebirth of nature after winter sleep, including plants and trees. That is why this time of year is a period of abundant flowering and pollen distribution. Human immunity reacts to pollen by releasing a special substance – histamine.
Histamine stimulates the production of mucus upon contact with an allergen, causing edema, as well as its accumulation of fluid in the cavity of the Eustachian tube. It’s a small canal, which connects the middle ear and nasopharynx. As a result of the accumulation of excess fluid, the following symptoms occur:
Noise or whistling
Autophony (when a person is uncomfortable with his own voice)
Do not forget that mucus accumulated in the ears is also an excellent environment for the development of various middle ear infections. Therefore, if you have the slightest feeling of hearing loss, you should immediately consult a doctor!
Quite often сlogged ear feeling comes from infection. The hearing organs are susceptible to various viruses and bacteria, which cause serious complications without proper treatment. Otitis media and many other middle ear infections cause clogged ears and other unpleasant symptoms.
Changes in atmospheric pressure
A characteristic feature of spring weather is abrupt changes, which affect even perfectly healthy people. Differences in atmospheric pressure in any case entail unpleasant consequences. People complain of spikes in blood pressure, weakness, headaches, and clogged ears.
Barometric pressure changes are one of the main causes of stuffy ears. The inner ear is filled with a fluid called endolymph, which reacts to these changes. Endolymph is a viscous fluid, which fills the membranous labyrinth of the inner ear, which is involved in the conduction of sound and the work of the vestibular system. An imbalance between the ambient pressure and the internal pressure in the ears causes a feeling of congestion.
People with Meniere’s disease, who already suffer from the accumulation of internal fluid, are especially sensitive to this phenomenon. An excess of endolymph and frequent changes in pressure lead to increased dizziness, hearing impairment, increased tinnitus, and headache.
Spring weather and hearing aids
Do you use hearing aids? Then spring allergies and weather changes become a significant enough problem for you. High rainfall, humidity and wind, an abundance of mucus due to allergic edema – all this increases the risk of damage to the device.
Excessive earwax and mucus also impair hearing aids’ performance by clogging up microphones and ducts. Fortunately, there are simple steps, which you can take to prolong the life of your devices and keep your hearing health seriously, even in the worst spring weather. But more on that below.
How to help your hearing in the spring?
Spring is a wonderful time to enjoy, not suffer while sitting at home. Dr. Stella Fulman has prepared simple tips to help you avoid or alleviate hearing problems, which most often occur in spring.
Of course, we are unable to deal with changes in atmospheric pressure. Still, we are not yet able to influence the weather. However, it is in our power to minimize unpleasant symptoms. So, during periods of a sharp change in atmospheric pressure, it is important to give rest to the nervous system, to be able to relax. Reducing stressors will not only positively affect your hearing but your overall health as well.
If this is your first time experiencing a hearing problem, contact a hearing care professional. It’s important to conduct an examination and exclude more serious causes of the problem. Otherwise, the doctor will prescribe treatment, as the constant increased pressure in the inner ear cavity can lead to irreversible hearing loss.
It happens that ear congestion is added to nasal congestion and sneezing. In this case, antihistamines will come to the rescue. These medications work by blocking the action of histamine, reducing swelling and other symptoms. Besides, we recommend taking vitamins, minerals, and foods, which remove fluid from the body. Limit salt intake and exercise daily. Although the link between vitamins and hearing loss is not so clear, some of them have beneficial effects on hearing health.
Do not forget that clogged Eustachian tube will lead to an accumulation of mucus in the middle ear, which is an excellent breeding ground for pathogens. Untreated, seasonal allergies can lead to middle ear infections, so consulting a doctor is the first thing to consider if you have allergy symptoms.
What about hearing aids? There is nothing complicated with this question either. Do you want to keep your devices in working order for as long as possible? Then clean your hearing aids thoroughly several times a week using special cleaning tools. Also, dry your devices daily, for example, while sleeping. Is it raining outside? Take an umbrella or wear a hat. Such measures will save hearing aids from moisture that destruct them.
Spring is not only a great time for photo shoots with the first spring flowers, but also a time of serious weather changes. Do not waste time if you are prone to allergies or begin to experience the first unpleasant symptoms. If ever in doubt, contact Audiology Island for advice. Experienced professionals can help you deal with seasonal challenges. Enjoy life and the beauty of spring with Audiology Island!
About Dr Stella Fulman
Dr. Stella Fulman, AU.D., CCC-A received her Bachelors and Masters degrees in Audiology from Brooklyn College in 2004 and her Doctorate of Audiology from Salus University in 2008. [ Learn More ]