Did You Know Your Common Cold Could Trigger Hearing Problems?

Man blowing his nose sick with a common cold

There are other symptoms of a cold that are less common than the well known runny nose. Occasionally, a cold can go into one or more ears, but you rarely hear about those. This type of cold can be more harmful 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 normal to feel some blockage in your ears when you have a cold. Usually, when you take a decongestant for sinus relief, this blockage will also be relieved.

But if you feel pain inside the ears, this is something you should never ignore, even during a cold. The eardrum can become infected if the cold goes into the ears. And that will trigger inflammation. The immune system reacts to the cold by generating fluid that can collect on the eardrum. So someone who is coping with an inflamed eardrum might also experience a gradual leaking of fluid from the ear. Because it’s a slow leak, it’s most noticeable when you are sleeping on your side.

This affects 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 brings about long-term hearing loss. Sensorineural hearing loss, which is damage to the nerves of the ear, can then occur.

Waiting could be costly

Come in and see us if you have any pain in your ears. Oftentimes, a primary physician assumes that the ear symptoms will clear themselves up when the initial cold does. Occasionally, a patient will even forget to mention any pain they may be experiencing in their ear. But the infection has likely reached the point where it’s doing harm to the ear if you’re feeling pain. It’s critical that the ear infection be treated quickly to prevent further harm.

Many people who experience pain in their ear during a cold, get over their cold only to find that the ear pain remains. Most people usually make the decision to consult a hearing specialist at this point. But, a great deal of damage is usually done by this time. This damage frequently results in permanent hearing loss, especially if you’re prone to ear infections.

After a while, hearing acuity is affected by the tiny scars and lacerations of the eardrum which are left behind from ear infections. The eardrum is a buffer between your inner and middle ear when it’s healthy and functioning in a normal capacity. Ear infections that were once confined to the middle ear can get into the inner ear if the eardrum is perforated even once. When the infection enters the inner ear, it can irreversibly 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 individuals just assume ear pain with a cold is normal when it actually points to a much more significant cold infection. If you are experiencing 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). You may need to have a blockage professionally removed if this is the situation. If you have sensorineural, or irreversible hearing loss, there are treatment solutions, including new hearing technology, that we can help you with.

If you’re having trouble hearing after a cold, make an appointment asap.

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.