Winter always calls for some preparation and care. Draining the gas out of the lawnmower. Making sure the windshield wiper fluid is topped up in the car. Digging the snow shovels out of storage.
Your hearing aids require the same kind of care and attention. Your ears too, for that matter.
‘Tis the season for ear infections, so staying healthy and keeping your ears warm and dry is the best defense. Follow mom’s advice and wear the hat.
But if you’re a hearing aid user, especially an in-the-ear model, keeping your outer ear warm is a bit of a double-edged sword. Ears well protected from the elements will, unfortunately, produce perspiration in the ear canal—even behind the ear lobes—which can degrade the performance of hearing aids.
The most effective countermeasure is doing a good job cleaning and drying your hearing aids regularly after an extended time outdoors, especially if strenuous activity was involved. Using a dehumidifier overnight to thoroughly get rid of any lingering moisture is an extra precaution that should be considered.
Another way to protect hearing aids, especially if you’re a winter athlete, is using spandex covers to better shield them against the weather. These will defend against both sweat and external moisture.
Finally, one winter risk to hearing that many don’t realize is running a snowblower. Those things are loud—cranking out over 100 decibels—and standing behind one without any protection like earplugs or earmuffs is not a great idea.
Take care of your ears and hearing aids this winter.