There are other symptoms of a cold that are less common than the well known runny nose. One type of cold you don’t often hear about is the one that goes into one or both ears. This kind of cold can be more risky than a common cold and shouldn’t ever be disregarded.
What does a cold in your ear feel like?
Your sinuses are directly connected to your ears, so it’s normal to feel some blockage in your ears when you have a cold. This blockage is often 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 responds to the cold by creating fluid that can collect on the eardrum. So someone who is coping with an inflamed eardrum might also experience a slow leaking of fluid from the ear. This leak is most obvious when you sleep on your side because the leak is so slow.
This is called conductive hearing loss and affects how well you hear over the short term. Sadly, it can also cause the eardrum to burst, which brings about long-term hearing loss. As a result, more permanent damage takes place to the hearing nerves from the inflammation, which is called sensorineural hearing loss.
Waiting could cost you
If you’re experiencing ear pain, have your ears tested by us. In many cases, a primary physician assumes that the ear symptoms will go away when the initial cold does. A patient might not even remember to mention that they’re experiencing 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. It’s paramount that the ear infection be treated promptly to prevent further damage.
In many instances, ear pain will linger even after the cold clears up. Most individuals typically decide to see a hearing specialist at this time. But by this time, a considerable amount of damage has already been done. This damage frequently results in permanent hearing loss, especially if you’re prone to ear infections.
Every time you get an infection, eardrum perforations and scar tissue can develop which, over time, can affect hearing clarity. In an average, healthy individual, the eardrum serves as a barrier 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 enter the inner ear, where it can damage the irreplaceable tiny nerve cells that you need to hear.
If you waited to have that ear infection addressed, what should you do?
Don’t be so hard on yourself. Most individuals simply think ear pain with a cold is normal when it really signals a much more serious cold infection. You should schedule an appointment for a hearing exam as soon as you can 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 a blockage in your ear that needs to be removed by a professional. If the hearing loss is permanent (sensorineural), we can discuss solutions that will help you hear better, including new hearing technology.
Schedule an appointment right away if you’re having difficulty hearing after a cold.