There are other symptoms of a cold that are less prevalent than the well known runny nose. One type of cold you don’t often hear about is the one that goes into one or more ears. This type of cold can be more risky than a common cold and should never be neglected.
What does a cold in your ear feel like?
It’s not abnormal to feel some blockage in your ears when you have a common cold. After all, your sinuses and ears are connected. Normally, when you use a decongestant for sinus relief, this blockage will also be relieved.
But you should never disregard pain in your ear, even when you have a cold. The eardrum can become infected if the cold moves into the ears. When it does, swelling happens. The immune system responds to the cold by producing fluid that can collect on the eardrum. So someone who is coping 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 gradual.
This is known as conductive hearing loss and affects how well you hear in the short term. Regrettably, it can also cause the eardrum to burst, which results in long-term hearing loss. In turn, more permanent damage occurs to the hearing nerves from the inflammation, which is known as sensorineural hearing loss.
It could be costly if you wait
If you’re having ear pain, have your ears checked by us. In many cases, a primary doctor assumes that the ear symptoms will disappear when the initial cold does. A patient might not even think to mention that they’re feeling actual pain in the ear. But the infection has likely reached the point where it’s doing damage to the ear if you’re feeling pain. In order to prevent additional damage, the ear infection needs to be quickly addressed.
In many instances, ear pain will remain even after the cold goes away. Most people typically decide to see a hearing specialist at this point. But, a lot of damage is usually done by this time. Permanent hearing loss is often the outcome and that’s even more true with people who get ear infections regularly.
Over time, 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 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 go into the inner ear, where it can harm the irreplaceable tiny nerve cells that you need to hear.
What should you do if you waited to address that ear infection?
Don’t be so hard on yourself. Most individuals just think ear pain with a cold is normal when it actually points to a much more serious cold infection. 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. You may need to have a blockage professionally removed if this is the situation. If the hearing loss is irreversible (sensorineural), we can discuss solutions that will help you hear better, including new hearing technology.
If you’re struggling to hear after a cold, schedule an appointment asap.