While everybody has encountered a runny nose, we don’t often talk about other types 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 type of cold can be more harmful than a common cold and should never be disregarded.
What does a cold in your ear feel like?
Your sinuses are directly interconnected to your ears, so it’s normal to feel some congestion in your ears during a cold. This blockage is usually alleviated when you take a decongestant to relieve sinus symptoms.
But you shouldn’t ever dismiss pain in your ear, even during a cold. The eardrum can be infected if the cold goes into the ears. And that will trigger inflammation. Inflammation is an immune reaction that causes fluid to collect on the outside of the eardrum. So someone who is coping with an inflamed eardrum may also experience a slow leaking of fluid from the ear. Because it’s a slow leak, it’s most pronounced when you are sleeping on your side.
This impacts how well you hear in the short term, which is called conductive hearing loss. Sadly, 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 happen.
Waiting could be costly
Come in and see us if you have any pain in your ears. In many cases, a primary doctor assumes that the ear symptoms will go away when the initial cold clears up. A patient may not even remember to mention that they are experiencing actual pain in the 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 has to be quickly treated.
In many instances, ear pain will linger even after the cold clears up. This is usually when an individual finally decides to go to a hearing specialist. But, a lot of damage is usually done by this time. This damage often leads to an irreversible hearing loss, especially if you are at risk of ear infections.
After a while, hearing acuity is impacted by the small-scale scars and lacerations of the eardrum which are left behind from ear infections. The eardrum is a buffer between the inner and middle ear when it’s healthy and working in a normal capacity. If the eardrum becomes perforated even once, then the infection that was previously confined 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 be so hard on yourself. A cold with pain in the ear can actually be a more serious cold than most individuals might think. You should schedule an appointment for a hearing assessment as soon as you can if you are experiencing hearing loss after a cold.
We can assess whether the hearing loss is temporary (conductive). If this is the case, you may have an obstruction in your ear that needs to be extracted by a professional. If you have sensorineural, or permanent 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, make an appointment asap.