Man blowing his nose sick with a common cold

There are other symptoms of a cold that are less prevalent than the well known runny nose. One type of cold you don’t often hear about is the one that moves into one or both ears. This type of cold can be more risky than a common cold and should never be neglected.

What does it feel like when you have a cold in your ear?

Your sinuses are directly linked to your ears, so it’s common to feel some blockage in your ears during a cold. This blockage is usually relieved when you use a decongestant to relieve sinus symptoms.

But you should never dismiss pain inside of your ear, even during a cold. The eardrum can become infected if the cold goes into the ears. And that will result in inflammation. The immune system responds to the cold by creating fluid that can build up on the eardrum. Frequently, a slow leaking fluid accompanies this inflammation. Because it’s a gradual leak, it’s most pronounced when you are sleeping 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 occur if this inflammation causes the eardrum to burst. Sensorineural hearing loss, which is injury to the nerves of the ear, can then happen.

Waiting could cost you

Come in and see us if you have any pain in your ears. In many cases, a primary physician assumes that the ear symptoms will go away when the initial cold does. Occasionally, a patient won’t even remember to mention any pain they might 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 avoid additional damage, the ear infection has to be promptly addressed.

In many instances, ear pain will persist even after the cold goes away. Most people usually decide to see a hearing specialist at this time. But, a great deal of damage is normally done by this time. Permanent hearing loss is often the consequence and that’s even more relevant with people who experience ear infections regularly.

Over time, hearing clarity is impacted by the small-scale scars and lacerations of the eardrum which are left behind from ear infections. The eardrum is a buffer between the inner and middle ear when it’s healthy and functioning in a normal capacity. Ear infections that were previously restricted to the middle ear can go into the inner ear if the eardrum is perforated even once. When the infection goes into the inner ear, it can permanently damage the nerve cells needed to hear.

If you waited to have that ear infection addressed, what should you do?

Don’t be so hard on yourself. Most people just assume ear pain with a cold is normal when it really points to a much more significant cold infection. If you are dealing with continued hearing loss after a cold, it’s best to schedule an appointment with us sooner rather than later.

We will identify if you’re dealing with conductive, or temporary hearing loss. You might need to have an obstruction professionally extracted if this is the case. If you’re dealing with sensorineural, or permanent hearing loss, there are treatment solutions, 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.

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The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.