There are other symptoms of a cold that are less common than the widely recognized runny nose. One type of cold you don’t frequently hear about is the one that goes into one or both ears. This type of cold can be more harmful than a common cold and shouldn’t ever be ignored.
What does a cold in your ear feel like?
It’s not abnormal to feel some blockage in your ears when you’re experiencing a common cold. After all, your ears and sinuses are linked. Normally, when you use a decongestant for sinus relief, this blockage will also be alleviated.
But if you feel pain in the ears, this is something you shouldn’t ever disregard, even during a cold. The eardrum can be infected if the cold moves into the ears. When it does, inflammation happens. The immune system reacts to the cold by producing fluid that can collect on the eardrum. So a person who is coping with an inflamed eardrum may also experience a gradual leaking of fluid from the ear. Because it’s a slow leak, it’s most noticeable when you are sleeping on your side.
This is called conductive hearing loss and impacts how well you hear over the short term. But long term hearing loss can also take place if this inflammation causes the eardrum to burst. Sensorineural hearing loss, which is damage to the nerves of the ear, can then happen.
It could be costly if you wait
Come in and see us if you’re dealing with any pain in your ears. In many cases, a primary physician assumes that the ear symptoms will go away when the primary cold does. Occasionally, a patient will even forget to mention any pain they might be experiencing in their 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 avoid additional damage, the ear infection needs to be quickly treated.
Many individuals who experience pain in their ear during a cold, get over their cold only to find that the ear pain remains. This is usually when a person finally decides to go to a hearing specialist. But at this point, a considerable amount of damage has already been done. Permanent hearing loss is frequently the outcome and that’s even more true with people who get ear infections regularly.
Every time you have 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 barrier between the middle ear and inner ear. Ear infections that were previously restricted to the middle ear can go into the inner ear if the eardrum is perforated even once. When the infection enters the inner ear, it can permanently harm the nerve cells needed 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 severe cold than most people might think. You should schedule an appointment for a hearing exam as soon as possible if you are experiencing hearing loss after a cold.
We will determine if you’re coping with conductive, or temporary hearing loss. If this is the situation, you may have an obstruction in your ear that needs to be removed by a professional. If you have 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.