While everyone has encountered a runny nose, we don’t often mention other kinds of cold symptoms because they’re less common. Occasionally, a cold can go into one or more ears, though you rarely hear about those. While you may generally consider colds as harmless, here’s why this ear-related cold symptom shouldn’t ever be disregarded.
What does a cold in the ear feel like?
It’s not abnormal to feel some blockage in your ears when you’re experiencing a common cold. After all, your sinuses and ears are connected. This blockage is often relieved when you use a decongestant to relieve sinus symptoms.
But you shouldn’t ever disregard pain in your ear, even when you have a cold. The eardrum can be infected if the cold goes into the ears. When it does, inflammation takes place. The immune system responds to the cold by creating fluid that can build up on the eardrum. So someone with an inflamed eardrum might also experience a gradual leaking of fluid from the ear. This leak is most apparent when you sleep on your side because the leak is so slow.
This impacts how well you hear in the short term, which is known as conductive hearing loss. Unfortunately, it can also cause the eardrum to burst, which leads to long-term hearing loss. Sensorineural hearing loss, which is injury to the nerves of the ear, can then occur.
Waiting could be costly
Come in and see us if you have any pain in your ears. In many cases, a primary physician assumes that the ear symptoms will clear themselves up when the primary cold clears up. Sometimes, 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 advanced to a point where it is likely doing damage to the ear. It’s critical that the ear infection be treated quickly to prevent further damage.
In many circumstances, ear pain will persist even after the cold clears. Most people typically make the decision to see a hearing specialist at this point. But, a lot of damage is usually done by this time. Irreversible hearing loss is frequently the outcome and that’s even more relevant with people who experience ear infections frequently.
Every time you have an infection, eardrum lacerations and scar tissue can happen which, over time, can affect hearing acuity. The eardrum is a barrier between your inner and middle ear when it’s healthy and functioning in a normal capacity. If the eardrum gets perforated even once, then the infection that was previously 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 addressed, what should you do?
Don’t be so hard on yourself. A cold with pain in the ear can actually be a more serious cold than most individuals might think. If you’re experiencing continued hearing loss after a cold, it’s best to schedule an appointment with us sooner rather than later.
We will determine if you’re dealing with conductive, or short-term hearing loss. If this is the case, you may have an obstruction in your ear that needs to be extracted by a professional. If you’re dealing with sensorineural, or irreversible hearing loss, there are treatment options, including new hearing technology, that we can help you with.
If you’re struggling to hear after a cold, schedule an appointment asap.