Were You Aware That Hearing Issues Can be caused by the Common Cold?

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 frequently hear about is the one that goes into one or both ears. This kind 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?

It’s not abnormal to feel some congestion 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 relieved.

But if you experience pain in the ears, this is something you shouldn’t ever dismiss, even when you have a cold. The eardrum can be infected if the cold goes into the ears. When it does, swelling takes place. The immune system reacts to the cold by creating fluid that can build up on the eardrum. Often, a slow leaking fluid accompanies this inflammation. This leak is most apparent when you sleep on your side because the leak is so gradual.

This affects how well you hear over the short term, which is called 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 take place.

Waiting could be costly

If you’re having pain in your ear, get your ears checked by us. It’s not uncommon for a primary care physician to wait until the cold is cleared up because they assume the ear pain will go away with it. 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. It’s critical that the ear infection be addressed promptly to prevent more harm.

Many people who develop ear pain during a cold, get over their cold only to find that the ear pain remains. Most people typically make the decision to see a hearing specialist at this point. But, a lot of damage is normally done by this time. Irreversible hearing loss is frequently the consequence and that’s even more relevant with people who get ear infections regularly.

Every time you get an infection, eardrum perforations and scar tissue can happen which, over time, can affect hearing clarity. In a normal, healthy person, the eardrum serves as a buffer between the middle ear and inner ear. If the eardrum becomes perforated even once, then the infection that was formerly restricted to the middle ear can now enter the inner ear, where it can damage the irreplaceable tiny nerve cells that you need to hear.

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

Don’t beat yourself up. Most individuals simply assume ear pain with a cold is normal when it actually points to a much more significant cold infection. You should make an appointment for a hearing exam as soon as you can if you are experiencing hearing loss after a cold.

We can assess whether the hearing loss is short-term (conductive). You may need to have a blockage professionally removed if this is the case. If you have sensorineural, or permanent hearing loss, there are treatment options, including new hearing technology, that we can help you with.

If you’re struggling to hear 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.