While everyone has experienced a runny nose, we don’t often talk about other kinds of cold symptoms because they are less frequent. One type of cold you don’t often hear about is the one that goes into one or both ears. While you might 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 uncommon to feel some blockage in your ears when you’re experiencing a common cold. After all, your sinuses and ears are linked. This blockage is usually alleviated when you take a decongestant to relieve sinus symptoms.
But you shouldn’t ever disregard pain in your ear, even during a cold. The eardrum can become infected if the cold moves into the ears. And that will cause inflammation. The immune system reacts to the cold by producing fluid that can build up on the eardrum. So a person who is coping 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 impacts how well you hear over the short term, which is known as conductive hearing loss. But long term hearing loss can also take place if this inflammation forces the eardrum to burst. As a result, more permanent damage happens to the hearing nerves from the inflammation, which is called sensorineural hearing loss.
It could cost you if you wait
If you’re noticing pain in your ear, have your ears checked by us. In many cases, a primary physician assumes that the ear symptoms will clear themselves up when the primary cold clears up. A patient might not even remember to mention that they’re experiencing actual ear pain. 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 avoid additional damage, the ear infection has to be quickly addressed.
In many cases, ear pain will remain even after the cold clears. Most people usually decide to see a hearing specialist at this time. But, a great deal of damage is normally done by this time. Irreversible hearing loss is often the consequence and that’s even more relevant with individuals who get ear infections regularly.
Over time, hearing acuity is affected by the small-scale scars and perforations of the eardrum which are the consequence of ear infections. The eardrum is a buffer between your inner and middle ear when it’s healthy and working in a normal capacity. If the eardrum becomes perforated even once, then the infection that was previously confined to the middle ear can now go into 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 treat that ear infection?
Don’t beat yourself up. A cold with pain in the ear can actually be a more serious cold than most people might think. If you are experiencing persistent hearing loss after a cold, it’s best to schedule an appointment with us as soon as possible.
We will determine if you’re coping with conductive, or temporary hearing loss. If this is the case, you might have an obstruction in your ear that needs to be removed by a professional. 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 trouble hearing after a cold.