A change in the seasons is a time of transitions. And for many folks, that comes with an onset of allergies — which might affect your hearing.

This is because allergies mean fluid buildup and swelling, which  — because the inner ear is finely balanced and quite small — can cause issues. Allergy related hearing problems are usually temporary and there’s no magic wand to deal with them. Anything that lessens the allergic reaction will mitigate any hearing problems.

The pollen from ragweed is the number one trigger for fall allergies. It’s a widespread plant and its pollen can ride the wind for hundreds of miles. There’s really no avoiding it.

Likewise, dust mite and mold allergies can get triggered in the autumn. Turning on the central heating for the first time in months can blow dust mites all over the house. Damp environments like piles of wet leaves are perfect places for molds to grow.

Which brings us to another hearing risk factor in the fall — running loud equipment while getting the yard ready for winter. Leaf blowers, chainsaws, and wood chippers can all produce noise well in excess of the 70 decibels that can cause temporary — or permanent — hearing damage.

Likewise, that other seasonal ritual should be guarded against — hunting season. Rifles and shotguns obviously produce sound at a level that can do damage.

Shielding the ears is the only viable solution to exposure to high-decibel sound. If running equipment or going hunting this autumn, invest in the best hearing protection feasible. Your ears will thank you over the long-term.