ZocdocAnswersWhat causes ears to get cold easily?

Question

What causes ears to get cold easily?

Why is it that my ears get cold so easily? They are the first part of me to get cold, and it doesn't even have to be that cold outside to happen. I've taken to wearing hats obsessively. I know it seems like a minor issue, but I feel like a freak. Could this be part of some serious problem?

Answer

That is a great question. The ears are mainly composed of cartilage, and have a large surface area to volume ratio, and are completely exposed and away from the body. Because of this, it is very common to experience cold more so in the ears than the rest of the body (which has fat and muscle that protects it from the cold). Every person is different ,and so it is not uncommon for different people to have different thresholds for which they feel pain, etc. It is a very good idea to keep them warm with hats, etc. The one possible concern is that you may have poor circulation as a result of peripheral vascular disease, which in that case, you may notice other symptoms including swelling in the feet and hands. It is recommended that you discuss this concern with your primary care doctor who will be best able to evaluate your medical history, presenting symptoms and decide upon an appropriate course for work up and potential treatment options if there are any available. Again, it is important to remember that various people have different thresholds to pain, and it may just be something that requires you to be extra vigilant when it comes to protecting yourself from the cold when outside with hats, scarves, etc.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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