Ear aches are common in winter. The pain is usually intense in the ear and its surrounding area, and the discomfort may eventually spread to the brain. We all think that earache is brought on simply by the cold weather and winds, but have you ever tried to figure out the real cause? Scroll down to know how the cold can affect your hearing and how to protect your ears.
Health Shots got in touch with Dr Kunal Nigam, head of department and consultant, ENT and Cochlear Implant, Sanar International Hospitals, to find out the causes of ear aches during winter and what you can do about it.
Why do people experience pain in the ears during the winter?
There can be multiple reasons why your ears are hurting during the winter season. Dr Nigam says, “The internal structure of our ears is made up of delicate tissues, nerve endings, and veins that connect to the brain and throat. This area is also partially exposed to the outside environment, so it makes sense that they would be affected by chills and cold air.” This may result in minor irritation to major infections.
Some causes of earache during winter include:
Some people who have a cold also experience earaches. The eustachian tube, which connects to the ear, allows bacteria to travel from the throat to the middle ear, which is primarily why this occurs. Seek immediate medical attention because this condition or ear infection can occasionally lead to the buildup of fluid in the middle ear.
2. Congestion or stuffy nose
Sometimes, any type of congestion in a eustachian tube that connects our throat to ears causes pain, and it is majorly seen during winter.
3. Repeated episodes of cough and cold
Every time you cough or sneeze, you may feel a slight pressure inside your ear. Hence if one experiences a persistent cold, this extra pressure results in irritation or pain in the ear.
Similar to the point mentioned above, those who have sinus problems frequently get earaches in the winter because constant sneezing and coughing place additional pressure on the ears.
5. Cold air
If you have ever experienced pain in your ears after being outside in cold weather, it’s because the nerves in the ear canal are also exposed to the cold air and react to it with strong pain in or around the ear.
Here are 10 tips to deal with earaches during the winter:
According to Dr Nigam, as far as preventive measures are concerned, the first and foremost step is to maintain basic hygiene of your ears. Unclean ears aggravate the infections and conditions mentioned above. Along with this, follow these below-mentioned tips:
1. Keep your ears covered and avoid direct exposure to chilled air, especially if you live in a cold area.
2. People with sinus problems, cough, and cold should be extra cautious and be regular with their medication.
3. Never use anything like hairpins or matchsticks to clean your ears. Only use clean cotton swabs that are handled very carefully.
4. Don’t use any ear drops without proper consultation.
5. Consult an ENT specialist even if you have minor symptoms because delaying treatment can lead to an aggravated infection and, in severe cases, hearing loss.
6. Take extra care of children with regard to all the points mentioned above.
7. Painkillers, allergy medications, and antibiotics can all be helpful. Follow your doctor’s instructions.
8. If your earache is due to the cold weather, you can also treat it with a warm compress, such as a wet washcloth.
9. Keep the ear dry and clean, as one could feel pain if there is water in the ear.
10. During the winter, try to keep your ears warm by using a hat, headband, or scarf.
With these tips, you will hopefully be able to deal with pain in your ear effectively!