While everybody has dealt with a runny nose, we don’t often talk about other kinds of cold symptoms because they’re less frequent. One type of cold you don’t frequently hear about is the one that goes into one or more ears. This kind of cold can be more risky than a common cold and should never be dismissed.
What does a cold in the ear feel like?
Your sinuses are directly interconnected to your ears, so it’s normal to feel some blockage in your ears when you have a cold. This blockage is usually alleviated when you use a decongestant to relieve sinus symptoms.
But you should never dismiss pain in your ear, even when you have 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 generating fluid that can build up on the eardrum. Frequently, a slow leaking fluid comes with this inflammation. Because it’s a slow leak, it’s most pronounced when you are sleeping on your side.
This affects 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 known as sensorineural hearing loss.
Waiting could cost you
Come in and see us if you have any pain in your ears. In many cases, a primary doctor assumes that the ear symptoms will clear themselves up when the primary cold does. A patient might not even remember to mention that they are feeling actual ear pain. But the infection has likely reached the point where it’s causing harm to the ear if you’re experiencing pain. In order to prevent further damage, the ear infection has to be promptly treated.
In many instances, ear pain will remain even after the cold goes away. Most individuals typically make the decision to see a hearing specialist at this time. But, a lot of damage is usually done by this time. Permanent hearing loss is often the consequence and that’s even more true with people who experience ear infections frequently.
Over time, hearing acuity is impacted by the small-scale scars and perforations of the eardrum which are the consequence of ear infections. In an average, healthy individual, the eardrum acts as a boundary between the middle ear and inner ear. If the eardrum becomes perforated even once, then the infection that was formerly 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.
If you waited to get that ear infection treated, what should you do?
Don’t beat yourself up. Most individuals simply assume ear pain with a cold is normal when it really points to a much more serious cold infection. If you’re dealing with persistent hearing loss after a cold, it’s best to make an appointment with us sooner rather than later.
We will identify if you’re dealing with conductive, or temporary hearing loss. If this is the situation, you may have a blockage 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.