There are other symptoms of a cold that are less common than the well known runny nose. One type of cold you don’t frequently hear about is the one that goes into one or both ears. This form of cold can be more risky 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’re experiencing a common cold. After all, your ears and sinuses are connected. Usually, when you take a decongestant for sinus relief, this blockage will also be relieved.
But you shouldn’t ever dismiss pain inside of your ear, even when you have a cold. The eardrum can be infected if the cold goes into the ears. When it does, inflammation takes place. The immune system responds to the cold by producing fluid that can build up on the eardrum. So someone with an inflamed eardrum may also experience a slow leaking of fluid from the ear. This leak is most apparent when you sleep on your side because the leak is so gradual.
This is called conductive hearing loss and affects how well you hear in the short term. Sadly, it can also cause the eardrum to burst, which leads to long-term hearing loss. 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 experiencing pain in your ear, get your ears examined by us. Oftentimes, a primary physician assumes that the ear symptoms will clear themselves up when the primary cold does. Sometimes, a patient will even forget to mention any pain they might be feeling in their ear. But the infection has most likely reached the point where it’s doing damage to the ear if you’re experiencing pain. In order to prevent additional damage, the ear infection has to be quickly treated.
In many instances, ear pain will persist even after the cold goes away. Most people typically make the decision to consult a hearing specialist at this time. But at this point, a considerable amount of damage has already been done. This damage often causes permanent hearing loss, especially if you’re prone to ear infections.
Every time you have an infection, eardrum lacerations and scar tissue can occur which, over time, can affect hearing acuity. In a normal, healthy individual, the eardrum acts as a boundary between the middle ear and inner ear. If the eardrum becomes perforated even once, then the infection that was formerly 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.
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’re dealing with continued hearing loss after a cold, it’s best to make an appointment with us as soon as possible.
We can assess whether the hearing loss is temporary (conductive). If this is the case, you might have an obstruction in your ear that needs to be extracted by a professional. If you have sensorineural, or irreversible hearing loss, there are treatment options, including new hearing technology, that we can help you with.
Schedule an appointment as soon as possible if you’re having trouble hearing after a cold.