There are other symptoms of a cold that are less prevalent than the well known runny nose. One type of cold you don’t frequently hear about is the one that goes into one or both ears. While you may generally consider colds as harmless, here’s why this ear-related cold symptom shouldn’t ever be disregarded.
What does it feel like when you have a cold in your ear?
It’s not abnormal to feel some blockage in your ears when you have a common cold. After all, your ears and sinuses are connected. 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 dismiss, even when you have a cold. If the cold moves into the ear, the eardrum can be infected. When it does, inflammation takes place. Inflammation is an immune reaction that causes fluid to accumulate on the outside of the eardrum. So a person with an inflamed eardrum might also experience a gradual leaking of fluid from the ear. Because it’s a gradual leak, it’s most pronounced when you are sleeping on your side.
This is known as conductive hearing loss and impacts how well you hear over the short term. Regrettably, it can also cause the eardrum to burst, which brings about long-term hearing loss. Sensorineural hearing loss, which is damage to the nerves of the ear, can then take place.
It could be costly if you wait
Come in and see us if you’re experiencing any pain in your ears. Oftentimes, a primary doctor assumes that the ear symptoms will clear themselves up when the initial cold does. A patient might not even think to mention that they’re feeling actual pain in the ear. But if you’re experiencing 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 promptly addressed.
Many people who develop ear pain during a cold, get over their cold only to notice that the ear pain lingers. Most people usually make the decision to consult a hearing specialist at this point. But, a lot of damage is usually done by this time. This damage often leads to an irreversible hearing loss, especially if you’re at risk of ear infections.
Over time, hearing acuity is affected by the tiny scars and perforations of the eardrum which are the consequence of ear infections. The eardrum is a barrier between your inner and middle ear when it’s healthy and working in a normal capacity. Ear infections that were previously restricted to the middle ear can go into the inner ear if the eardrum is lacerated even once. When the infection goes into the inner ear, it can irreversibly damage the nerve cells needed 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 serious cold than most individuals might think. 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 coping with conductive, or temporary hearing loss. If this is the situation, you might have a blockage in your ear that needs to be removed by a professional. If you have sensorineural, or irreversible hearing loss, there are treatment options, including new hearing technology, that we can help you with.
If you’re struggling to hear after a cold, make an appointment asap.