While everybody has experienced a runny nose, we don’t often mention other kinds of cold symptoms because they are less common. Occasionally, a cold can go into one or both ears, though you rarely hear about those. This form of cold can be more harmful than a common cold and should never be neglected.
What does it feel like when you have a cold in your ear?
Your sinuses are directly linked to your ears, so it’s common to feel some congestion in your ears during a cold. This blockage is often alleviated 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. The eardrum can become infected if the cold moves into the ears. And that will lead to inflammation. Inflammation is an immune response that causes fluid to accumulate on the exterior of the eardrum. Frequently, a slow leaking fluid comes with this inflammation. This leak is most obvious when you sleep on your side because the leak is so slow.
This impacts how well you hear in the short term, which is known as conductive hearing loss. Unfortunately, it can also cause the eardrum to burst, which leads to long-term hearing loss. As a result, more permanent damage happens to the hearing nerves from the inflammation, which is known as sensorineural hearing loss.
It could cost you if you wait
Come in and see us if you have any pain in your ears. In many cases, a primary physician assumes that the ear symptoms will go away when the primary cold does. A patient might not even remember to mention that they’re experiencing actual ear pain. But if you’re feeling pain, the infection has progressed to a point where it is likely doing damage to the ear. In order to prevent additional damage, the ear infection needs to be promptly addressed.
In many circumstances, ear pain will remain even after the cold clears. Most people typically make the decision to see a hearing specialist at this point. But, a great deal of damage is usually done by this time. Permanent hearing loss is often the result and that’s even more relevant with people who get ear infections frequently.
Over time, hearing clarity is affected by the small-scale scars and lacerations 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 gets perforated even once, then the infection that was previously confined 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 address that ear infection?
Don’t be so hard on yourself. Most individuals simply think ear pain with a cold is normal when it really points to 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 dealing with conductive, or temporary hearing loss. If this is the case, you may have a blockage in your ear that needs to be removed by a professional. If you’re dealing with sensorineural, or permanent 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.