There are other symptoms of a cold that are less prevalent than the well known runny nose. Once in a while, a cold can go into one or more ears, but you rarely hear about those. While you might generally consider colds as harmless, here’s why this ear-related cold symptom shouldn’t ever be disregarded.
What does it feel like when you get a cold in your ear?
It’s not uncommon 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 usually relieved when you take a decongestant to relieve sinus symptoms.
But you should never dismiss pain inside of your ear, even when you have a cold. If the cold moves into the ear, the eardrum can be infected. And that will lead to inflammation. The immune system responds to the cold by producing fluid that can build up on the eardrum. So someone with an inflamed eardrum might also experience a slow leaking of fluid from the ear. Because it’s a gradual leak, it’s most pronounced when you are sleeping on your side.
This is called conductive hearing loss and impacts how well you hear in the short term. Regrettably, it can also cause the eardrum to burst, which results in long-term hearing loss. As a result, more permanent damage happens to the hearing nerves from the inflammation, which is known as sensorineural hearing loss.
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 disappear when the primary cold clears up. A patient may not even remember to mention that they’re experiencing actual ear pain. But the infection has likely gotten to the point where it’s doing damage to the ear if you’re feeling pain. In order to avoid additional damage, the ear infection has to be quickly addressed.
Many individuals who experience ear pain during a cold, get over their cold only to notice that the ear pain remains. Most people usually decide to consult a hearing specialist at this point. But at this point, a lot of damage has already been done. This damage often causes permanent hearing loss, particularly if you are at risk of ear infections.
Every time you get an infection, eardrum perforations and scar tissue can happen which, over time, can impact hearing clarity. In a normal, healthy individual, the eardrum serves as a boundary between the middle ear and inner ear. If the eardrum gets perforated even once, then the infection that was formerly confined to the middle ear can now enter the inner ear, where it can damage the irreplaceable tiny nerve cells that you need to hear.
If you waited to have 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 significant cold than most people may think. You should schedule an appointment for a hearing exam as soon as possible if you are experiencing hearing loss after a cold.
We will determine if you’re dealing with conductive, or temporary hearing loss. You might need to have a blockage professionally extracted 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 struggling to hear after a cold, schedule an appointment asap.