There are other symptoms of a cold that are less common than the well known runny nose. Once in a while, a cold can go into one or both ears, but you rarely hear about those. This form of cold can be more harmful than a common cold and should never be ignored.
What does a cold in your ear feel like?
Your sinuses are directly linked to your ears, so it’s normal to feel some congestion in your ears during a cold. This blockage is often relieved when you use a decongestant to relieve sinus symptoms.
But if you experience pain inside the ears, this is something you should never disregard, even during a cold. The eardrum can become infected if the cold moves into the ears. When it does, swelling happens. The immune system responds to the cold by generating fluid that can collect on the eardrum. Often, a slow leaking fluid comes with this inflammation. Because it’s a slow leak, it’s most pronounced when you sleep on your side.
This impacts how well you hear in the short term, which is known as conductive hearing loss. Regrettably, it can also cause the eardrum to burst, which leads to long-term hearing loss. As a result, more permanent damage takes place to the hearing nerves from the inflammation, which is known as sensorineural hearing loss.
Waiting could cost you
If you’re noticing pain in your ear, get your ears tested by us. It’s not unusual for a primary care doctor to wait until the cold goes away because they assume the ear pain will clear up with it. A patient may not even remember to mention that they’re experiencing actual ear pain. But if you’re experiencing pain, the infection has progressed to a point where it is most likely doing damage to the ear. In order to avoid additional damage, the ear infection has to be promptly addressed.
In many instances, ear pain will remain even after the cold clears up. Most individuals typically decide to consult a hearing specialist at this point. 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.
Over time, hearing acuity is affected by the tiny scars and perforations of the eardrum which are the consequence of ear infections. The eardrum is a buffer between the 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 formerly restricted to the middle ear can now go into the inner ear, where it can damage 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. A cold with pain in the ear can actually be a more serious cold than most individuals may think. You should make an appointment for a hearing assessment as soon as you can if you are experiencing hearing loss after a cold.
We will determine if you’re coping with conductive, or short-term hearing loss. You may need to have a blockage professionally extracted if this is the situation. If the hearing loss is irreversible (sensorineural), we can discuss solutions that will help you hear better, including new hearing technology.
If you’re struggling to hear after a cold, make an appointment asap.