While everybody has experienced a runny nose, we don’t commonly mention other types of cold symptoms because they are less common. Occasionally, a cold can go into one or more ears, though you rarely hear about those. This type of cold can be more harmful than a common cold and shouldn’t ever be dismissed.
What does a cold in your ear feel like?
It’s not abnormal to feel some blockage in your ears when you have a common cold. After all, your sinuses and ears are linked. Usually, when you use a decongestant for sinus relief, this blockage will also be alleviated.
But if you feel pain inside the ears, this is something you should never dismiss, even during a cold. If the cold goes into the ear, the eardrum can be infected. And that will result in inflammation. Inflammation is an immune response that causes fluid to accumulate on the outside of the eardrum. Often, a slow leaking fluid comes with this inflammation. Because it’s a gradual leak, it’s most pronounced when you are sleeping on your side.
This is known as conductive hearing loss and affects how well you hear in the short term. Regrettably, it can also cause the eardrum to burst, which brings about 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
Come in and see us if you’re dealing with any pain in your ears. In many cases, a primary doctor assumes that the ear symptoms will disappear when the primary cold clears up. Occasionally, a patient won’t even remember to mention any pain they may be experiencing in their ear. But the infection has probably gotten to the point where it’s causing harm to the ear if you’re feeling pain. It’s paramount that the ear infection be addressed quickly to avoid further harm.
Many people who experience pain in their ear during a cold, get over their cold only to find that the ear pain lingers. This is often when a person finally decides to see a hearing specialist. But by this time, a lot of damage has already been done. This damage frequently results in an irreversible hearing loss, especially if you are at risk of ear infections.
Every time you get an infection, eardrum lacerations and scar tissue can develop which, over time, can affect hearing clarity. The eardrum is a buffer between the inner and middle ear when it’s healthy and working in a normal capacity. If the eardrum becomes perforated even once, then the infection that was previously 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.
What should you do if you waited to address that ear infection?
Don’t beat yourself up. Most people just think ear pain with a cold is normal when it actually points to a much more significant cold infection. If you’re dealing with continued hearing loss after a cold, it’s best to make an appointment with us sooner rather than later.
We can determine whether the hearing loss is short-term (conductive). If this is the situation, you may have an obstruction in your ear that needs to be removed by a professional. If the hearing loss is permanent (sensorineural), we can talk about solutions that will help you hear better, including new hearing technology.
If you’re having trouble hearing after a cold, schedule an appointment asap.