Hearing Services of Nashville

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 kind of cold you don’t often hear about is the one that goes into one or more ears. While you might generally consider colds as harmless, here’s why this ear-related cold symptom shouldn’t ever be ignored.

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

It’s not unusual to feel some blockage in your ears when you’re experiencing a common cold. After all, your sinuses and ears are linked. This blockage is often relieved when you use a decongestant to relieve sinus symptoms.

But if you feel pain inside the ears, this is something you should never ignore, even during a cold. The eardrum can be infected if the cold goes into the ears. And that will trigger inflammation. Inflammation is an immune response that causes fluid to collect on the outside of the eardrum. So an individual who is coping with an inflamed eardrum might also experience a slow leaking of fluid from the ear. Because it’s a gradual 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. Unfortunately, it can also cause the eardrum to burst, which leads to long-term hearing loss. As a result, more permanent damage happens to the hearing nerves from the inflammation, which is known as sensorineural hearing loss.

It could be costly if you wait

If you’re noticing ear pain, get your ears examined by us. In many cases, a primary physician assumes that the ear symptoms will go away when the primary cold does. A patient might not even remember to mention that they’re feeling actual pain in the ear. But the infection has probably reached the point where it’s doing harm to the ear if you’re feeling pain. It’s paramount that the ear infection be addressed promptly to avoid more damage.

In many instances, ear pain will remain even after the cold goes away. Most individuals typically decide to see a hearing specialist at this point. But, a great deal of damage is usually done by this time. This damage frequently leads to an irreversible hearing loss, particularly if you’re at risk of ear infections.

Every time you have an infection, eardrum lacerations and scar tissue can happen which, over time, can impact hearing clarity. The eardrum is a buffer between the inner and middle ear when it’s healthy and working in a normal capacity. Ear infections that were once restricted to the middle ear can get into the inner ear if the eardrum is perforated even once. When the infection goes into the inner ear, it can irreversibly damage the nerve cells needed to hear.

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

Don’t be so hard on yourself. A cold with pain in the ear can actually be a more significant cold than most individuals might think. You should make an appointment for a hearing test as soon as you can if you are experiencing hearing loss after a cold.

We will determine if you’re dealing with conductive, or temporary hearing loss. You might need to have an obstruction professionally removed if this is the situation. If the hearing loss is irreversible (sensorineural), we can talk about options that will help you hear better, including new hearing technology.

Make 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.
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