While everyone has dealt with a runny nose, we don’t usually mention other kinds of cold symptoms because they are less common. One type of cold you don’t often hear about is the one that goes into one or both ears. This form of cold can be more harmful than a common cold and shouldn’t ever be disregarded.
What does it feel like when you get a cold in your ear?
It’s not unusual to feel some blockage in your ears when you’re experiencing a common cold. After all, your sinuses and ears are linked. Usually, when you take a decongestant for sinus relief, this blockage will also be alleviated.
But you should never ignore pain in your ear, even during a cold. The eardrum can be infected if the cold moves into the ears. When it does, inflammation happens. The immune system responds to the cold by generating fluid that can accumulate on the eardrum. Often, a slow leaking fluid accompanies this inflammation. Because it’s a gradual leak, it’s most pronounced when you are sleeping on your side.
This impacts how well you hear over the short term, which is called conductive hearing loss. But long term hearing loss can also occur if this inflammation causes the eardrum to burst. As a result, more permanent damage occurs to the hearing nerves from the inflammation, which is known as sensorineural hearing loss.
Waiting could be costly
If you’re experiencing ear pain, have your ears examined by us. Oftentimes, a primary physician assumes that the ear symptoms will go away when the primary cold does. Sometimes, a patient will even forget to mention any pain they may be experiencing in their ear. But the infection has likely reached the point where it’s doing harm to the ear if you’re experiencing pain. In order to avoid further damage, the ear infection needs to be promptly treated.
In many cases, ear pain will persist even after the cold clears. Most people usually decide to see a hearing specialist at this time. But, a great deal of damage is normally done by this time. Permanent hearing loss is frequently the outcome and that’s even more true with people who get ear infections regularly.
Over time, hearing acuity is impacted by the tiny scars and lacerations of the eardrum which are the consequence of ear infections. The eardrum is a buffer between your inner and middle ear when it’s healthy and functioning in a normal capacity. If the eardrum becomes perforated even once, then the infection that was formerly restricted to the middle ear can now enter 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 treat that ear infection?
Don’t beat yourself up. Most people 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 dealing with conductive, or temporary hearing loss. You may need to have a blockage professionally removed if this is the case. If you’re dealing with sensorineural, or irreversible hearing loss, there are treatment solutions, including new hearing technology, that we can help you with.
If you’re having trouble hearing after a cold, schedule an appointment asap.