One of the most difficult times of year for Lipreading Mom is when the weather turns from cold to warm and vice versa. Not just because it can be humid and windy where I live, but because I am more susceptible to getting head colds, allergy congestion, and sinus infections.
While I type, my right ear is filled with fluid and aches.
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.
If I didn’t have a house full of children here to keep up with today, I would spend the day without hearing aids. Scary? Sure, but I would choose 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, no kids to lip read.
How does a person with hearing loss survive a cough-infested, ear-fluid-filled season without losing sanity? Here are my tips.
1) Go to bed. That’s right. No TV show, Internet chat, or blog 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 with vitamin C. Drink decaffeinated tea with honey to soothe your throat. Do all of this in a stress-free place.
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 medicine 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.
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?”
If you have other suggestions, post them below. Here’s to good (cough-cough) health!
If you can avoid flying. From folks I’ve talked with changes in altitude seems to have a more negative effect on those sick with colds or severe congestion when they also have hearing loss.
Denise – That’s an excellent piece of advice! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten on a plane with some sickness, only to feel even worse when I got off. And talk about clogged ears…Altitude pressure from flying can wreak havoc on them.
Just 2 things you might want to try – 1) Ear candling. Ever heard of this? There are specially made candles that are inserted into the ear, then lit. The melting wax and gasses (eucalyptus among others) sucks the wax and crud out of your ears. 2) B-12. This is one of the most difficult vitamins to get properly. Pills don’t work. You need a sub-lingual dosing system. B-12 is absorbed really rapidly, and it’s half life is only minutes – literally. Vitamin C interferes with absorption of B-12, so only take it a few hours after you’ve taken the C. You need really massive doses for it to work. People will tell you you’re nuts, but you have to take a ton of the stuff.
Just my 2¢ worth, but might help.
I’ve heard of that, but never tried it. I wonder what our ENTs think about ear candling?
P.S. I enjoy your work. Hope you’re feeling better, soon.
I have had problems with allergies/sinus since I was a teen (I’m 68). Learned that going to the doctor doesn’t do me any more good than taking OTC stuff (mostly claritin and muxinex) – and yes, enough water to float a boat! I think maybe it dilutes the gook inside your head. Right now, I’ve got a friend in TX, one in N. CA, and one in Dublin, Ireland who’s fighting these same symptoms! I feel like I’ve been run over by a truck. And, too, think of what happens when an animal gets sick or hurt – it goes off alone – and sleeps – and lets its body heal itself.
Hugs to you, Netagene.