A report by The American Lung Association states that the typical adult gets as many as four colds a year. Although colds are normally minor viral infections, that’s a lot. Whether the virus attacks the throat, respiratory system, or sinuses, it can produce ear congestion, and eventually, an ear infection.
Although many people think colds are harmless, there are a few symptoms you shouldn’t ever ignore. The connection between the common cold and ear infections has finally been verified by scientists. This discovery is significant, because ear infections are a major contributing factor in the troubling rise in antibiotic resistance.
You Should Never Ignore These Symptoms
Because your sinuses and ears are interconnected, it’s not uncommon to feel stuffed up in your ears when you have a cold. Typically, this feeling comes and goes, particularly if you’re using a decongestant and your head is draining out fluids. But in only a few hours congestion can turn into an ear infection. This is the reason that if you have pain or discharge in your ears you need to seek professional assistance.
Pain can be evidence of inflammation and infection and is a signal your cold is moving in the wrong direction. If caught early, you can get a prescription for antibiotics and avoid permanent injury. It can lead to eardrum scaring and might harm the cilia if neglected.
Is this very serious? Normally, cold related hearing loss is only temporary. Injury to your eardrum or cilia, however, can result in permanent hearing loss…which can lead to other health problems.
Loss of Hearing Can Harm Your General Health
Hearing loss has been associated with other health problems, from loss of cognitive capability to depression to a rise in accidents. Researchers have recently shown a link between loss of hearing and increased healthcare costs. In fact, in just ten years, neglected hearing loss can increase your healthcare costs by 46%.
Hearing loss can also raise your probability of needing to be hospitalized by 50%….and also increase the probability of needing to be readmitted.
Even minor damage can add up. Johns Hopkins found that just having mild hearing loss can 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.
Having Ear Pain for Days?
Have you already ignored ear pain for days? It’s a common mistake, 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 necessary to get your ear evaluated if you had any pain over the course of your cold or are still having difficulty hearing after your cold is gone. A professional examination can determine if:
- you currently have an ear infection
- your inner ear is impacted
- you need to deal with damage to the eardrum
Discomfort or temporary hearing loss can be caused by a blockage in the ear that can also be determined by a professional ear examination.
It’s a definite sign that you should see a professional if you have sustained hearing loss or pain in your ear. Schedule an appointment now.