The American Lung Association has found that the average adult gets as many as four colds every year. Although colds are normally minor viral infections, that’s still a lot. Whether the virus attacks the sinuses, throat or respiratory system, it can produce ear congestion, and ultimately, an infection in the ear.
Although most people consider colds harmless, there are certain symptoms you should never dismiss. The connection between the common cold and ear infections has finally been confirmed by scientists. This finding is significant, because ear infections are a significant contributing factor in the troubling rise in antibiotic resistance.
Symptoms You Should Never Ignore
Because your sinuses and ears are connected, it’s not uncommon to feel stuffed up in your ears when you’re experiencing a cold. If you’re using a decongestant, and your head is draining fluids, this feeling generally comes and goes. But in only a few hours congestion can turn into an ear infection. This is the reason that if you have pain or discharge in your ears you should get professional help.
Pain can be an indication of inflammation and infection and is a signal your cold is getting worse. You can prevent permanent injury, if caught early enough, by getting a prescription for antibiotics. It can result in eardrum scaring and might harm the cilia if neglected.
Is this very serious? A cold will generally only cause temporary problems with your hearing. However, permanent hearing loss can result if the eardrum or cilia become damaged and that can result in other health issues.
Hearing Loss Can Impact Your General Health
Loss of cognitive ability, depression, an increase in accidents, and other health concerns have been linked to loss of hearing. An increase in healthcare expenses has been linked with hearing loss by researchers recently. In fact, in just a decade, neglected hearing loss can raise your healthcare expenses by 46%.
Your probability of requiring hospitalization with untreated hearing loss is increased by 50%….and also increase the chance of being readmitted.
Even a small amount of injury can add up. Even mild hearing loss can, Johns Hopkins found, double your risk of getting dementia. Think about the fact that each time you have an ear infection it can cause scarring that leads to significant hearing loss over time.
Suffering From Pain for Days?
Have you already neglected ear pain for days? It’s a common oversight, but get treatment immediately. The majority of health insurance companies consider signs of an ear infection or ear pain an emergency and there’s good reason for that. It’s important to get your ear checked out if you had any pain during your cold or are still having trouble hearing after your cold has cleared. If you schedule a hearing test you can find out if:
- You have an ear infection right now
- your inner ear is affected
- you need to deal with damage to the eardrum
A professional assessment can also ensure that there are no obstructions in the ear that may cause irritation or temporary loss of hearing.
It’s a sure sign that you need to consult a professional if you have prolonged hearing loss or ear pain. Schedule a hearing examination today.