Winter can provoke the spread of illness and infection as people shelter inside from the cold and bacteria thrives in heated stuffy areas. As the cold winter months drag on, as does prime season for colds and flu.
Ear infections can be especially troublesome for people that use a hearing aid, as swelling in the ear can prevent the device fitting properly. As well as pain and discomfort, an infection can also affect hearing quality and change the acoustics of the ear, which can be a major hindrance to the everyday life of a hearing aid wearer.
Follow these tips to prevent and treat an ear infection:
- When suffering from an ear infection it is important to let the ears breathe. The hearing aid should be removed often to let air get to the problem area and reduce the conditions that bacteria thrives in. During the infection, ears should not be covered with ear muffs or a scarf.
- Ears should be kept as dry as possible, resist the urge to syringe the ear or try and wash out the infection. Close attention should be paid to hearing aid and ear hygiene. It is important that hearing aids are kept clean, which can be done by using the soft cleaning cloth or small brush issued with the device. Ears should be regularly cleaned to prevent a build up of wax, but resist using cotton buds as these can damage and perforate the ear drum.
- If your ear infection lasts longer than 4 days and shows no signs of improving, consult your doctor. They will be able to determine if the infection is viral or bacterial. While nothing can be prescribed for a viral infection, ear drops and antibiotics can be used to treat a bacterial infection.
- When you’re not wearing your hearing aid it should be stored correctly. Hearing aids should be stored in a dry place, so be sure not to leave your hearing aid somewhere warm and damp like a bathroom.
Ear infections can be annoying and inconvenient so it is best to take all the possible precautions to try and reduce your chance of re-infecting or making the problem worse. By following these simple tips and guidance, you should be able to get back to using your hearing aid as normal. However, if you do suspect your hearing isn’t the same once an infection is over, you should book a hearing test as soon as possible to get things checked out.