There are other symptoms of a cold that are less prevalent than the widely recognized runny nose. Once in a while, a cold can go into one or more ears, but you rarely hear about those. This type of cold can be more risky than a common cold and should never be ignored.
What does it feel like when you have a cold in your ear?
It’s not unusual to feel some congestion in your ears when you’re experiencing a common cold. After all, your sinuses and ears are connected. Usually, when you use a decongestant for sinus relief, this blockage will also be relieved.
But if you experience pain inside the ears, this is something you shouldn’t ever dismiss, even when you have a cold. The eardrum can be infected if the cold goes into the ears. And that will lead to inflammation. The immune system responds to the cold by producing fluid that can accumulate on the eardrum. So a person with an inflamed eardrum may also experience a gradual leaking of fluid from the ear. Because it’s a gradual leak, it’s most pronounced when you sleep on your side.
This is called conductive hearing loss and affects how well you hear in the short term. But long term hearing loss can also take place if this inflammation forces the eardrum to burst. Sensorineural hearing loss, which is injury to the nerves of the ear, can then happen.
Waiting could cost you
If you’re noticing ear pain, have your ears examined by us. Oftentimes, a primary doctor assumes that the ear symptoms will go away when the initial cold does. Sometimes, a patient will even forget to mention any pain they may be experiencing in their ear. But if you’re experiencing pain, the infection has advanced to a point where it is likely doing damage to the ear. In order to prevent additional damage, the ear infection needs to be promptly treated.
Many individuals who develop ear pain during a cold, get over their cold only to find that the ear pain lingers. This is usually when a person finally decides to see a hearing specialist. But by this time, a considerable amount of damage has already been done. Permanent hearing loss is often the consequence and that’s even more true with individuals who experience ear infections regularly.
Over time, hearing clarity is affected by the tiny scars and lacerations of the eardrum which are left behind from ear infections. 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 go into 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 individuals simply assume ear pain with a cold is normal when it actually signals a much more serious cold infection. If you are dealing with continued hearing loss after a cold, it’s best to make an appointment with us sooner rather than later.
We can assess whether the hearing loss is temporary (conductive). If this is the situation, you might have a blockage in your ear that needs to be removed by a professional. If you have sensorineural, or permanent hearing loss, there are treatment options, including new hearing technology, that we can help you with.
If you’re having trouble hearing after a cold, make an appointment asap.