Don’t miss out on conversations around the dinner table and be mindful of winter weather! Audiologists at the Clarke Hearing Center compiled tips and best practices to support hearing health throughout the fall and winter seasons when the weather can be cooler, and more people gather indoors.
Tips for Indoors
Self-advocate! Make sure the people around you are aware you have a hard time hearing.
Limit background noise! Adjust the volume of dinner music, save dish clean-up for later in the evening or move to a quieter space for after-dinner conversation.
Invite others to be attention-getting! Remind friends and family to gain your attention before speaking. Checking for eye contact is always a good idea.
Say more than “what?” Ask the speaker to rephrase their message. Ask for clarification. Share what you are and are not hearing so the speaker can help clarify the information in a way that will help you understand.
Avoid kitchen conversations. Active kitchens add tremendous background noise with water running, doors and drawers opening and closing, dishes clanking and little conversational eye contact while prepping for and cleaning up meals.
Leverage technology. If you are using hearing aids, discuss accessories with your care team (e.g., a mic to pass around with family members or to place on the center of the table).
Winter Weather Q&A with Clarke Audiologists
Q: Does cold weather damage hearing aids?
A: Cold weather does not directly damage hearing aids, but the condensation from differences in temperature can harm hearing devices. Moisture can damage hearing aids. However, hearing aids are more water-resistant than ever before. If it’s drizzling or there’s light snow, the devices should be fine. Here’s a good rule of thumb to follow: if it is going to look like you came out of a shower, then that’s too much rain/snow/moisture. Use umbrellas, hoods and hats to avoid precipitation. Keep extra batteries handy as they may die faster when out in the cold for longer periods of time.
Q: Can noise from snow blowing damage my hearing?
A: Be sure to wear hearing protection when snow blowing. Most snowblowers are 90+dB. According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH): 90dB at about 90 minutes, 95dB at about one hour and 100dB at about two minutes can cause hearing damage.
Q: Can I keep my hearing aids in my vehicle?
A: Never leave hearing aids in a cold or hot vehicle. Condensation can build up in the hearing aid with temperature changes.
Q: Can clothing for cold temperatures damage my hearing technology?
A: Clothing and accessories generally won’t damage hearing devices. Use caution when removing hats, scarves, ear warmers, sweatshirts and turtlenecks. Try using ear-gear and ear-grips for glasses or winter sports apparel for snowboarding, skilling or tubing. Never modify a helmet that may be used for some winter sports to accommodate a hearing aid or amplification device.
The Clarke Hearing Center is a clinic with full-time audiologists who support the local community as well as children of all ages who are deaf or hard of hearing and learning to listen and talk at Clarke. As a nonprofit organization, proceeds from the Clarke Hearing Center in Northampton support Clarke’s mission to teach children who are deaf or hard of hearing to listen and talk.