15 answers

Inner Ear Problems When Out in the Cold/wind...

Hi Moms! I wonder if any of you are able to shed any light on this subject for me~ When I am outside and it is cold out; even a little cold, my inner ears start hurting. Within a short amount of time, it just keeps getting worse. I then start feeling dizzy, so I have this bad ear pain along with dizziness where I have to just lay down until it passes. Once I get inside and lay down, it doesn't take too long to pass. Yes, it helps if I wear a hat/something over my ears- but depends on what I am doing, that's not always possible or convenient! I like to walk outside but don't in the winter or cooler fall and spring days because of this. It affects me doing certain things with my husband or kids. I don't know if it's something serious to deal with or just annoying. Any input or advice would be appreciated!

What can I do next?

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Hi, I don't have any useful advice for you, I can just tell you the same thing happens to me. For me, it sometimes takes a while for it to pass. I am prone to vertigo at times though.. Wind tares me up! I walk around like a geek holding my hands over my ears at soccer games.. still, I feel crumby afterward. Good luck with finding a solution.

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Okay, some good responses, but nobody is telling you why this happens. First of all, it's totally normal, there MAY not even be anything wrong with you, especially since you said hats help. Yes, they're (hats) inconvenient sometimes, but worth it if you avoid the situation in the first place. I am an audiologist and I see this often in my practice. Basically, behind your eardrum there is fluid. If wind, especially when it's cold rushes in there, it's going to cause some discomfort. Also, when that fluid is either heated or cooled, this leades to the dizziness. Your vestibular (balance organ) system is directly linked to your ears. Hot or cold air (or water) can affect the fluid in the middle ear which in turn affects the balance organ. It actually "sends it off balance". In simple terms, it makes your body think it's moving in a certain direction when it's not. If you don't cover up your ears, you're going to cool down the fluid=DIZZINESS! And sometimes nausea and pain. If you're concerned, see an ENT. They will most likely refer you to an audiologist for vestibular testing (called an ENG or VNG).
Hope this helps! Feel free to respond if you have any more questions!
Small earplugs may even help as well, they make them so that you can still hear voices, but block the wind from getting in as well!

3 moms found this helpful

You're not alone... I have the same issue and have found no way around it except to either cover my ears or put some cotton in them. In the winter I keep a couple cotton puffs in my purse just in case I get caught outside without a headband (I prefer the fleece headbands to hats or earmuffs). I'll be interested to see the responses you get and see if there are any other solutions out there...

2 moms found this helpful


I know exactly what you are talking about and I have the same problem. Sometimes I can get away with wearing a hooded sweatshirt or a jacket with a hood and that will help if I'm caught out in a windy area, if its cold enough I like the earmuffs that go around the back of your head and they are flat (my hair is shoulder length) I wear them under my hair so they are not very noticeable. I can usually find them in the men's dept.

Even when we go to Lake Michigan in the hot summer weather, the wind right on the beach will bother my ears. I liked the idea about putting cotton in your ears, I had never thought of that before and I am going to try it myself.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi there,

My mom and one of my daughters have to deal with the pain, but neither have ever mentioned being dizzy, getting a bad headache yes, but not dizzy. It helps them alot to keep the ears covered. When it's super cold or quite windy I also put a ball of cotton in her ear to block out a bit more.
My mom claims that it's just the canal being really sensitive to the cold. I'm sure that knowing her, she's talked to her doctor about it. With you getting dizzy, it would probably be a good idea to mention it to your doctor at your next visit just to make sure he doesn't think it's connected to something else.
But if you want to be active out there with the rest of your family, you will have to find a way to keep the air out of the canal. I don't see any other option. I know that sounds harsh-I just re-read it. But really, you decide if your joining them out or not and if you are, you have to protect the canal.

Lots of luck!
M.--wife of 12 years and mom to 4 girls ages 11 to 6.

1 mom found this helpful

I'm a veteran of inner ear nightmares!

Yes, go have it checked out. Then you'll know. Any otolaryngologist (ear/nose/throat) will be able to tell you one way or other.

1 mom found this helpful

I can't help with the reason for your ear pain but thought I would make a couple suggestions. My mom bought me these ear mittons, they are small about the size of a fifty cent piece that just fit snug over your ears they are ellastic and do not attached to each other so you wont have to worry about messing your hair up or anything, which is great. Also my Dr gave me a home remady for ear infections/wax build up ( I use to have sevear inner and outer ear infections due to a hole in my ear drum). He told me to use acouple drops of proxide (kills infection) vinager (cleans) & rubbing alcohal (dry's it up) same amount of each AFTER the hole in my ear was healed and it actually helps clear your ears out. I do recomend you see your ear Dr ASAP cuz it sounds like you might have a hole in one if not both of your ears and getting cold air in them is very painful. Make sure they are covered at all times when being outside, if you need to use a small peice of a cotton ball.

1 mom found this helpful

I had vertigo about 10 years ago. I don't have it any more. My immune system is stronger and I take supplements to keep it strong, eat good (80% of the time), drink water and exercise. Basically, lifestyle changes.

The core of being healthy starts with the immune system. So having a healthy immune system will help with your ear and equilibrium.

Having a hat on when you are outside is good. Also, it is not necessary to always use a Q-Tip to clean your ears. You may just want to use a cloth.

M. Potrykus
Mama Bear Productions

1 mom found this helpful

Since you say it feels better laying down you may have positional vertigo. www.medhelp.org/posts/show/344840 and http://www.medicinenet.com/common_cold/article.htm

I am not sure that cold necessarily affects vertigo but you say it's your inner ear that hurts which is typicallty a major symptom of vertigo. I say talk to your doctor about this. If you need the name of a good E.N.T (ear nose throat dr) let me know. ____@____.com

Dear ML,

I have the same problem that you and the others have described. Not only in winter, but in summer on the lake or a windy day. I usually keep a thick fabric headband to cover my ears with because I can't take the pain and nausea, but it doesn't help 100%. I also will try the cotton balls in the ears. For the winter time, they do make ear coverings, that are like little hats for your ears. They help if you put a hat over it to help them stay on. Look for them at mountain climbing supply stores/catalogues.

It sounds as though you may have fluid in your ear drums that is affecting your equalibrium. See a doctor asap. I hope you feel better. :)

I have had the same problem for years, and the only thing I can do is wear earmuffs. For me it's not necessarily the cold but the cold wind passing my ears that makes them hurt. If you find out what it is let us know, it has always annoyed me as well.

Story of my life! I have struggled with ear problems forever! I can help you with a wellness solution, or you could try the earmuffs that go behind your head (to not mess up your hair). You can get them at Kohl's.


Hi, I don't have any useful advice for you, I can just tell you the same thing happens to me. For me, it sometimes takes a while for it to pass. I am prone to vertigo at times though.. Wind tares me up! I walk around like a geek holding my hands over my ears at soccer games.. still, I feel crumby afterward. Good luck with finding a solution.

Does it only happen in the cold? I just posted a question on mineirs/vertigo.If the room really feels like its spinning or you get dizzy from certain movements you may have this thing like me. I would go to your doctor and they may send you to an ear nose and throat specialist.Hope this helps

I have had a similar problem for years myself! Really windy days or days that you wouldn't think would be very cold seem to cause my problem - like those late spring or early fall days when the temperature is such that all you really need is a turtle neck and sweatshirt outside. Anyway, what I have done is ripped off two little pieces of a cotton ball and put that in each ear. For some reason, that has helped me out and stopped my problem.

Hope it works for you too!

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