The importance of our ears is often underestimated until they begin to cause discomfort or affect our hearing ability. The summer season can exacerbate ear-related concerns due to activities such as swimming, travel, and outdoor exploration. It is important during the summer season to be mindful of these potential risks and take appropriate precautions to safeguard your auditory health. Here are the most common summer ear issues doctors see during warmer months and what to do if you think you’re dealing with one.
Common Summer Ear Issues: How to Protect Your Ears this Season
Noise-Induced Hearing Loss
Attending loud events such as music festivals and fireworks displays can lead to hearing damage caused by noise exposure. Prolonged exposure to loud sounds can cause permanent hearing damage. If you’re frequently around 85 decibels or higher sounds, you must take breaks and protect your ears to avoid long-term complications. It can also happen after a one-time exposure to loud noise over 120 decibels. While these levels can vary, heavy city traffic usually measures around 85 decibels, a concert can range from 95 to 115 decibels, and fireworks can register between 140 and 160 decibels.
Air Pressure Changes
Airplane takeoffs and landings can cause ear discomfort, especially if you have congestion. When a plane takes off or lands, the sudden change in air pressure can cause discomfort or pain in your ears due to the Eustachian tubes being unable to regulate the pressure correctly. These thin passageways link your middle ear, the back of your nose, and your upper throat and are responsible for maintaining proper pressure in your middle ears.
Swimmer’s ear, also known as otitis externa or external otitis, is a skin infection inside the ear canal caused by water or moisture trapped in the ear. Symptoms include itchiness, pain, plugged-up feeling, hearing loss, fever, and liquid drainage. A doctor can determine if the infection is fungal or bacterial and prescribe appropriate drops to clear it up.
Summer Colds and Allergies
Sinus infections, colds, allergies, and other conditions that increase mucus production can lead to acute otitis media, commonly known as ear infections. Although children are more prone to this ailment, adults may also experience ear infections when the Eustachian tubes cannot drain fluids effectively, making them susceptible to bacterial or viral infections.
If you experience ear pain or any other persistent unusual symptoms, it is advised to consult a primary care physician (PCP) or an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) specialist. Ear problems can stem from various factors, making it challenging to diagnose the issue independently. One can receive a proper diagnosis and solution by consulting with a medical professional and discussing the symptoms and potential causes. If you live in the NYC area and need a hearing healthcare professional, contact us today.