While everybody has experienced a runny nose, we don’t often mention other kinds of cold symptoms because they’re less common. Occasionally, a cold can move into one or more ears, but you rarely hear about those. This kind of cold can be more harmful than a common cold and should never be dismissed.
What does a cold in your ear feel like?
It’s not uncommon to feel some blockage in your ears when you have a common cold. After all, your sinuses and ears are linked. Normally, when you use a decongestant for sinus relief, this blockage will also be relieved.
But if you experience pain in the ears, this is something you shouldn’t ever disregard, even during a cold. The eardrum can become infected if the cold goes into the ears. When it does, swelling occurs. The immune system responds to the cold by generating fluid that can accumulate on the eardrum. So an individual who is coping with an inflamed eardrum might also experience a slow leaking of fluid from the ear. Because it’s a slow leak, it’s most noticeable when you sleep on your side.
This affects how well you hear in the short term, which is called conductive hearing loss. But long term hearing loss can also take place if this inflammation causes the eardrum to burst. Sensorineural hearing loss, which is damage to the nerves of the ear, can then take place.
It could be costly if you wait
If you’re noticing pain in your ear, have your ears tested by us. It’s not uncommon for a primary care doctor to wait until the cold goes away because they assume the ear pain will go away with it. Occasionally, a patient will even forget to mention any pain they may be experiencing in their ear. But the infection has probably gotten to the point where it’s doing harm to the ear if you’re feeling pain. It’s critical that the ear infection be addressed immediately to prevent further damage.
In many cases, ear pain will persist even after the cold clears up. This is usually when a person finally decides to visit a hearing specialist. But, a great deal of damage is normally done by this time. This damage frequently leads to an irreversible hearing loss, particularly if you’re at risk of ear infections.
After a while, hearing acuity is affected by the small-scale scars and perforations of the eardrum which are left behind from ear infections. The eardrum is a buffer between your inner and middle ear when it’s healthy and working 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 harm the irreplaceable tiny nerve cells that you need to hear.
If you waited to have that ear infection treated, 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. If you are experiencing persistent hearing loss after a cold, it’s best to schedule an appointment with us sooner rather than later.
We will identify if you’re dealing with conductive, or short-term hearing loss. If this is the situation, you might have an obstruction in your ear that needs to be removed 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.