There are other symptoms of a cold that are less common than the well known runny nose. One type of cold you don’t often hear about is the one that goes into one or more ears. This type of cold can be more risky than a common cold and shouldn’t ever be ignored.
What does a cold in your ear feel like?
Your sinuses are directly linked to your ears, so it’s common to feel some blockage in your ears when you have a cold. This blockage is usually relieved when you take a decongestant to relieve sinus symptoms.
But if you feel pain in the ears, this is something you shouldn’t ever disregard, even when you have a cold. If the cold moves into the ear, the eardrum can become infected. And that will result in inflammation. The immune system reacts to the cold by producing fluid that can accumulate on the eardrum. So someone with an inflamed eardrum might also experience a gradual leaking of fluid from the ear. This leak is most apparent when you sleep on your side because the leak is so gradual.
This affects how well you hear over the short term, which is called conductive hearing loss. Regrettably, it can also cause the eardrum to burst, which brings about long-term hearing loss. In turn, more permanent damage takes place to the hearing nerves from the inflammation, which is known as sensorineural hearing loss.
It could be costly if you wait
If you’re having ear pain, have your ears checked by us. In many cases, a primary physician assumes that the ear symptoms will go away when the initial cold clears up. Occasionally, a patient won’t even remember to mention any pain they may be feeling in their ear. But if you’re feeling pain, the infection has progressed to a point where it is most likely doing damage to the ear. In order to avoid additional damage, the ear infection has to be promptly treated.
Many people who experience ear pain during a cold, get over their cold only to discover that the ear pain remains. This is often when a person finally decides to see a hearing specialist. But at this point, a considerable amount of damage has already been done. This damage frequently results in permanent hearing loss, especially if you’re at risk of ear infections.
Each time you have an infection, eardrum perforations and scar tissue can develop which, over time, can affect hearing acuity. The eardrum is a barrier between the inner and middle ear when it’s healthy and working in a normal capacity. Ear infections that were once restricted to the middle ear can go into the inner ear if the eardrum is perforated even once. When the infection goes into the inner ear, it can permanently harm the nerve cells needed to hear.
If you waited to get that ear infection treated, what should you do?
Don’t beat yourself up. Most individuals just assume ear pain with a cold is normal when it actually signals a much more serious cold infection. You should schedule an appointment for a hearing test as soon as you can if you are experiencing hearing loss after a cold.
We will identify if you’re dealing with conductive, or temporary hearing loss. You might need to have a blockage professionally extracted if this is the situation. If you’re dealing with sensorineural, or irreversible hearing loss, there are treatment solutions, including new hearing technology, that we can help you with.
If you’re having trouble hearing after a cold, schedule an appointment asap.