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75 Thomas Johnson Drive • Suite B Frederick, MD 21702 | Call 301.695.EARS | Fax: 301-695-7403

Does Cold Weather Cause Earaches?

Young woman wearing ear muffs.

Cold weather has arrived, and many of us are paying attention to a body part that often goes unnoticed during warmer months—our ears! So, can cold weather cause an earache? Well, sort of. While the cold temperatures may not directly cause an earache, the cold can cause other problems that lead to ear infections. Cold air can dry out the throat causing coughing and irritation, and cold air increases nasal secretions and congestion. This can lead to a bacterial infection of the upper respiratory system. When the bacteria makes its way to the Eustachian tube, it can cause an ear infection and earache.

Cold Weather Hearing Problems


Severe cold can cause tinnitus, or ringing in the ears, and even hearing loss. Exostosis, or Surfer’s Ear, is a condition where, when exposed to prolonged or extreme cold, bones within the inner ear thicken, blocking the ear canal and causing tinnitus or, sometimes, hearing loss.

Hardened Earwax

Cold weather can also harden earwax and lead to hearing loss. Much like Exostosis, the body tries to protect the ear canal from extreme cold by producing earwax. The earwax becomes hardened and trapped, narrows the ear canal, and causes hearing loss.

Hearing Aids and Cold Weather

Cold weather can be a particular problem with people who wear hearing aids, as the ears tend to produce more wax when something is inserted into the ear for a prolonged period of time. The hardened earwax can cause the hearing aids to malfunction. Hearing aids sometimes require additional maintenance during cold winter months.

Do you have a question about Mid Maryland ENT, our practice, or our services? You may call us at 301-695-3100 or drop us a note, here.