While everybody has experienced a runny nose, we don’t often talk about other kinds of cold symptoms because they are less frequent. One kind of cold you don’t frequently hear about is the one that moves into one or both ears. While you may generally consider colds as harmless, here’s why this ear-related cold symptom should never be disregarded.
What does it feel like when you have a cold in your ear?
It’s not unusual to feel some congestion in your ears when you’re experiencing a common cold. After all, your ears and sinuses are connected. This blockage is often relieved when you use a decongestant to relieve sinus symptoms.
But you should never dismiss pain inside of your ear, even during a cold. If the cold moves into the ear, the eardrum can be infected. And that will cause inflammation. The immune system responds to the cold by producing fluid that can build up on the eardrum. Often, a slow leaking fluid accompanies this inflammation. This leak is most apparent when you sleep on your side because the leak is so slow.
This impacts 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 called sensorineural hearing loss.
It could cost you if you wait
If you’re having ear pain, get your ears checked by us. In many cases, a primary doctor assumes that the ear symptoms will disappear when the primary cold does. A patient may not even think to mention that they are feeling actual ear pain. But if you’re feeling pain, the infection has advanced to a point where it is likely doing damage to the ear. In order to prevent further damage, the ear infection has to be quickly addressed.
In many circumstances, ear pain will linger even after the cold clears. This is usually when a person finally decides to visit a hearing specialist. But, a lot of damage is usually done by this time. This damage frequently leads to permanent hearing loss, especially if you’re prone to ear infections.
Every time you get an infection, eardrum perforations and scar tissue can develop which, over time, can affect hearing acuity. In an average, healthy individual, the eardrum acts as a boundary between the middle ear and inner ear. 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.
What should you do if you waited to deal with that ear infection?
Don’t beat yourself up. A cold with pain in the ear can actually be a more significant cold than most individuals might think. You should make an appointment for a hearing exam as soon as you can if you are experiencing hearing loss after a cold.
We will determine if you’re coping with conductive, or temporary hearing loss. You may need to have an obstruction professionally removed if this is the case. If you’re dealing with sensorineural, or irreversible hearing loss, there are treatment options, including new hearing technology, that we can help you with.
If you’re having trouble hearing after a cold, schedule an appointment asap.