A report by The American Lung Association states that the normal adult gets up to four colds every year. That’s a lot even if the majority of colds are minor viral infections. Whether the virus attacks the respiratory system, throat, or sinuses, it can produce ear congestion, and ultimately, an ear infection.
Although most people consider colds harmless, there are some symptoms you don’t want to dismiss. The connection between the common cold and ear infections has finally been verified by scientists. This is an important discovery, because ear infections are a major contributing factor in the disturbing rise in antibiotic resistance.
Symptoms You Should Never Ignore
It’s quite common to feel stuffed up in your ears when you’re suffering from a cold because your sinuses and ears are linked. If you’re taking a decongestant, and your head is draining fluids, this feeling usually comes and goes. But congestion can develop into an ear infection in only a few hours. This is the reason that if you’re experiencing pain or discharge in your ears you should seek professional advice.
Pain can be an indication of inflammation and infection and is a sign your cold is moving in the wrong direction. You can protect against permanent injury, if caught early enough, by getting a prescription for antibiotics. It can result in eardrum scaring and may harm the cilia if neglected.
How significant is this? Usually, cold related hearing loss is only temporary. Injury to your eardrum or cilia, however, can lead to permanent hearing loss…which can lead to other health problems.
Your Overall Health Can be Impacted by Loss of Hearing
Hearing loss has been linked to other health concerns, from loss of cognitive ability to depression to an increase in accidents. An increase in healthcare expenses has been linked with hearing loss by researchers recently. In fact, in only 10 years, neglected hearing loss can increase your healthcare expenses by 46%.
Loss of hearing can also increase your chance of needing hospitalization by 50%….and the chance of being readmitted also increases.
Even a small amount of injury can add up. Even slight hearing loss can, Johns Hopkins found, double your probability of getting dementia. Consider the fact that considerable hearing loss can be caused by scarring on the eardrum from repeated ear infections.
Suffering From Pain for Days?
Have you already ignored ear pain for days? It’s a common oversight, but get treatment immediately. Most health insurance companies consider symptoms of an ear infection or ear pain an emergency and there’s good reason for that. It’s important to get your ear examined if you had any pain during your cold or are still experiencing trouble hearing after your cold is gone. If you get a hearing exam you can find out if:
- your inner ear is affected
- You have an infection right now
- there is injury to the eardrum that should be addressed
Discomfort or temporary hearing loss can be caused by an obstruction in the ear that can also be determined by a professional ear exam.
Ear pain or chronic loss of hearing are certain signs that you need to see a professional. Schedule an appointment now.