There are other symptoms of a cold that are less common than the widely recognized runny nose. One kind of cold you don’t often hear about is the one that goes into one or more ears. This form of cold can be more risky than a common cold and should never be disregarded.
What does it feel like when you have a cold in your ear?
Your sinuses are directly interconnected to your ears, so it’s normal to feel some congestion in your ears during a cold. Normally, when you use a decongestant for sinus relief, this blockage will also be relieved.
But you shouldn’t ever dismiss pain in your ear, even when you have a cold. If the cold moves into the ear, the eardrum can be infected. When it does, swelling occurs. Inflammation is an immune reaction that causes fluid to accumulate on the outside of the eardrum. So an individual with an inflamed eardrum may also experience a gradual leaking of fluid from the ear. Because it’s a gradual leak, it’s most noticeable when you are sleeping on your side.
This affects how well you hear in the short term, which is called conductive hearing loss. Sadly, it can also cause the eardrum to burst, which results in long-term hearing loss. Sensorineural hearing loss, which is damage to the nerves of the ear, can then take place.
Waiting could cost you
If you’re having ear pain, have your ears tested by us. In many cases, a primary doctor assumes that the ear symptoms will clear themselves up when the initial cold clears up. Sometimes, a patient will even forget to mention any pain they may be feeling in their ear. But the infection has likely gotten to the point where it’s causing harm to the ear if you’re feeling pain. In order to avoid further damage, the ear infection has to be quickly treated.
Many people who experience pain in their ear during a cold, get over their cold only to find that the ear pain lingers. Most individuals typically make the decision to see a hearing specialist at this time. But at this point, a considerable amount of damage has already been done. Permanent hearing loss is often the result and that’s even more true with people who experience ear infections regularly.
Each time you get an infection, eardrum perforations and scar tissue can develop which, over time, can affect hearing acuity. The eardrum is a barrier between your inner and middle ear when it’s healthy and working in a normal capacity. If the eardrum gets perforated even once, then the infection that was previously restricted to the middle ear can now enter the inner ear, where it can damage the irreplaceable tiny nerve cells that you need to hear.
If you waited to have that ear infection addressed, what should you do?
Don’t beat yourself up. Most people simply think ear pain with a cold is normal when it actually signals a much more significant cold infection. If you’re dealing with persistent hearing loss after a cold, it’s best to make an appointment with us as soon as possible.
We will determine if you’re coping with conductive, or temporary hearing loss. You might need to have an obstruction professionally extracted if this is the situation. If you’re dealing with sensorineural, or permanent hearing loss, there are treatment solutions, including new hearing technology, that we can help you with.
Make an appointment as soon as possible if you’re having difficulty hearing after a cold.