Table of Contents
- 1 Can the air conditioner affect your ears?
- 2 Can air conditioning clog your ears?
- 3 Can the air conditioner cause pain in the ears?
- 4 Can AC cause bacterial infection in your ears?
- 5 Can air conditioner cause irritation of ears?
- 6 How to avoid the bad effects of AC on your ears?
Due to global warming and climate changes, the heat in summer has become unbearable. It is difficult to tolerate this scorching heat without an air conditioner.
Many people ask us, can air conditioners cause ear infections? The answer is yes! Air conditioners can cause different health problems related to the eyes, throat, nose, and ears.
In this article, we will talk about the health impact of air conditioners on your ears and how you can prevent that.
Can the air conditioner affect your ears?
Yes, the air conditioner can affect your ears. It can cause ear infections and other health problems. Here’s how:
The air conditioner in your room is continuously blowing dry air. If you keep the air conditioner running for a long time, the dry air will reduce the humidity in your room.
Now when you will inhale this dry air with no moisture, it will dry out your nasal passage and the mucous membrane lining the middle ear.
The air enters your body through the mouth and nose. There’s a mucous membrane in your nasal passage and middle ear. The job of the mucous membrane is to filter the incoming air and remove viruses, bacteria, and other harmful substances from it. It also maintains the temperature & humidity of the incoming air as per the needs of your lungs.
When you inhale the dry air of AC with no moisture, it dries out the mucous membranes present in your nasal passage and middle ear. As a result, the mucous membranes are unable to do their job properly & viruses and bacteria find their way into your body. The back of your nose is connected to your ear via Eustachian Tube. This way the viruses and bacteria enter through the nose and reach the deepest part of your ear.
Can air conditioning clog your ears?
Yes, air conditioning can cause blockage of the ears. Here is how it happens:
When you come from a hot environment and sit in a cold environment for a prolonged period, there is a sharp change in temperatures in your body. This causes a cold and the body starts producing an excessive amount of catarrh (phlegm).
The catarrh (phlegm) builds up in your ear as well and obstructs the Eustachian Tube. This way you feel intense pressure and blockage in the ears. You may also experience temporary hearing loss due to the very same reasons.
Can the air conditioner cause pain in the ears?
Yes, the air conditioner can cause pain in your ears.
If you come from an extremely hot environment and sit under an air conditioner for a long time, there’s a sudden and sharp change of temperature in your body. This causes cold and the body produces excess catarrh (phlegm).
As a result, the Eustachian Tube between your ear and nose gets blocked and causes pain.
The pressure inside & and outside of the Eustachian Tube also changes. If the pressure in the middle ear is lower than the auditory canal, your eardrum will retract inwards. This will trigger severe pain in the ear.
Can AC cause bacterial infection in your ears?
Yes, the air conditioner can cause bacterial infection in your ears.
The air conditioner blows dry air which decreases the humidity in your room.
When you sit in an air conditioner room all the time, the dry air of AC dries out the mucous membranes present in your nasal passage and middle ear.
When the mucous membranes lose their moisture, they fail to filter out the viruses, bacteria, and other harmful particles from the air you are inhaling.
The back of your nose is connected to the ears. So, the viruses and bacteria enter through the nose and travel all the way to reach the inner part of your ear. They settle there and cause viral and bacterial infections.
The mucous membranes are unable to stop the bacteria because they have lost their moisture.
This is how an air conditioner can contribute to bacterial infection in your ears.
Can air conditioner cause irritation of ears?
Yes, you can have irritation of the ears due to the air conditioner. It can happen due to two main factors:
1. Molds inside the AC
If there are molds or black stuff in air conditioner, the AC will disperse them in your entire room.
When you will inhale the air contaminated by molds, you may develop irritation of the ears.
2. The noise of the AC unit
If you will stay in the loud noise of the air conditioner for a prolonged period, it will irritate the ears and affect your hearing abilities.
How to avoid the bad effects of AC on your ears?
If you want to save your ears from the bad effect of air conditioner, make sure to follow these tips:
1. Do not set the temperature below 22° C
If you are someone who spends most of their time in an air-conditioned room, we recommend you keep the temperature above 22°C.
It’s because sitting in an AC room with a low temperature for a long time can cause ear infections & respiratory problems in the eyes, nose, and throat.
Your throat, nasal passage, and mucous membranes will be dried by the dry air of the AC. Hence, you will be at more risk of attack by viruses and bacteria.
2. Use humidifiers or water containers
The air conditioner blows dry air and reduces the humidity levels in the room. We can get sick after inhaling dry air or sleeping under air conditioner for too long.
You can place humidifiers or water containers in the room to maintain the moisture levels in the air.
This will save you from ear infections and several other health problems.
3. Avoid direct exposure to the AC
Sitting directly under the air conditioner can have more rapid and severe effects on your health. You will have a high risk of developing ear infections and other health problem such as AC drying out skin.
We recommend you avoid direct exposure to the air conditioner because it will help minimize the risk of ear infections and other diseases.
4. Dry your ears
If you will stay in the AC with wet ears, you have a very high risk of developing an ear infection and other health conditions related to ears.
That’s why it is recommended you completely dry your ears before going into an air-conditioned room.
Dr. Sagert specializes in neurology and internal medicine. Currently work in the corvallis clinic. She graduated in 2006 from Loma Linda University School of Medicine. 15 years+ experience.