While everybody has dealt with a runny nose, we don’t usually talk about other kinds of cold symptoms because they are less frequent. One kind of cold you don’t frequently hear about is the one that moves into one or more ears. This type of cold can be more harmful than a common cold and shouldn’t ever be ignored.
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 have a common cold. After all, your ears and sinuses are linked. Usually, when you take a decongestant for sinus relief, this blockage will also be relieved.
But if you experience pain in the ears, this is something you should never disregard, even during a cold. If the cold goes into the ear, the eardrum can be infected. When it does, swelling occurs. The immune system reacts to the cold by creating fluid that can collect on the eardrum. Often, a slow leaking fluid accompanies this inflammation. Because it’s a slow leak, it’s most pronounced when you sleep on your side.
This affects how well you hear in the short term, which is called conductive hearing loss. Sadly, it can also cause the eardrum to burst, which results in long-term hearing loss. Sensorineural hearing loss, which is injury to the nerves of the ear, can then occur.
It could be costly if you wait
If you’re having ear pain, have your ears examined by us. In many cases, a primary doctor assumes that the ear symptoms will clear themselves up when the initial cold clears up. Occasionally, a patient will even forget to mention any pain they might be experiencing in their ear. But if you’re feeling pain, the infection has progressed to a point where it is likely doing damage to the ear. It’s critical that the ear infection be addressed promptly to prevent further damage.
In many instances, ear pain will linger even after the cold clears up. This is often when an individual finally decides to go to a hearing specialist. But, a great deal of damage is normally done by this time. Permanent hearing loss is often the outcome and that’s even more relevant with individuals who experience ear infections regularly.
After a while, hearing clarity is affected by the tiny scars and lacerations of the eardrum which are left behind from ear infections. In a normal, healthy individual, the eardrum acts as a buffer between the middle ear and inner ear. Ear infections that were once restricted to the middle ear can get into the inner ear if the eardrum is lacerated even once. When the infection goes into the inner ear, it can permanently damage the nerve cells needed to hear.
What should you do if you waited to address that ear infection?
Don’t beat yourself up. A cold with pain in the ear can actually be a more serious cold than most individuals might think. You should make an appointment for a hearing test as soon as possible if you are experiencing hearing loss after a cold.
We will identify if you’re coping with conductive, or temporary hearing loss. If this is the situation, you might have an obstruction in your ear that needs to be extracted 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.
Schedule an appointment as soon as possible if you’re having difficulty hearing after a cold.