7 Tips for Surviving the Cold with a Hearing Loss

One of the most difficult times of year for Lipreading Mom is the winter. Not just because it is frigid and overcast where I live, but because I am more susceptible to getting head colds.

While I type, I am nursing a cold. My right ear is filled with fluid, my nose is stuffy, and my throat tickles.

Anyone with hearing loss knows that a lack of hearing ability due to a fluid-filled ear is not a pleasant thing. For one, my hearing aid doesn’t work the way it should with my cold-infected ear. With the hearing aid in and switched “on,” the only sound I hear out of it is the rumbling of fluid from inside that ear.

So I have decided to spend the day with no hearing aids in. Scary? Sure, but I have chosen a day in which I have limited contact with a lot of people. No meetings to attend to, no serious phone calls to make, no doctor appointments. Just me and my computer…and, in a few hours, my kids when I pick them up from school.

How does a person with hearing loss survive the cold, cough-infested, ear-fluid-filled season without losing sanity? Here are my tips.

1) Go to bed. That’s right. No TV show, Internet surfing, or blogging is important enough to lose sleep. I am forcing myself to get to bed an hour earlier than normal. My body is screaming for rest, so I’m giving it some.

2) Gulp the water. Keep a water bottle with you at all times, and use it. Drink water in the morning while you’re getting dressed. Keep a full bottle on the nightstand, bathroom vanity, or wherever you will see it first thing. Keep additional water bottles in the car with you, in your purse or briefcase, at your desk. Keep one at your computer so you can gulp some while you read this blog post.

3) Say ‘no’ to excess. By this I mean excess stress, sugar, and caffeine. All three will keep your body feeling sluggish and unable to fight the head cold. Eat lots of fresh fruits and veggies with vitamin C. Drink decaffeinated tea with honey to soothe your throat. Do all of this in a stress-free locale.

4) Cough in your elbow. I sound like the mother of a preschooler, which I AM. Instead of coughing into your hand or all over your spouse, cough in a place least likely to spread your germs to others. And that would be your elbow.

5) Keep those hands clean. Keep hand sanitizer in your car, purse, briefcase, near your computer, next to the kitchen sink. (I feel like I am repeating myself here.)

6) Take cold medicines as indicated by the over-the-counter directions or your doctor. No overdoing Benadryl so you can sleep all week and not face the world. You do have a life, you know. If the sickness lingers, see your doctor.

7) Love on your ears. Gently clean the extra ear wax buildup with a cotton swab. And, if you feel better keeping your hearing aids or cochlear implant off for the day so you can sleep, do it. Just make sure you remember to put them back in so you can hear the person you love say, “Are you feeling better? When are you going to fix me breakfast?”

These are my tips for fighting nasty cold germs while protecting your ears. If you have other suggestions, post them here.

Here’s to (cough-cough) good health!

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3 thoughts on “7 Tips for Surviving the Cold with a Hearing Loss

  1. Pingback: Infested ears | Selectricity

  2. Thanks for your post and description. My 5 year old has hearing aids and a cold and I’m working on ways to navigate when to tell him he must wear them and when to let him go with out (mild to severe mixed hearing loss in both ears). It was helpful to read your description of what it sounds like to have hearing aids in when you are congested. Is this true of all hearing aids?

    Thanks,
    Erin

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