Did You Know Your Common Cold Could Cause Hearing Problems?

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. Once in a while, a cold can go into one or more ears, but you rarely hear about those. While you may generally think of colds as harmless, here’s why this ear-related cold symptom should never be dismissed.

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

It’s not uncommon 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 usually relieved when you use a decongestant to relieve sinus symptoms.

But if you feel pain in the ears, this is something you should never dismiss, even during a cold. If the cold moves into the ear, the eardrum can become infected. And that will cause inflammation. Inflammation is an immune response that causes fluid to accumulate on the outside of the eardrum. Frequently, a slow leaking fluid accompanies this inflammation. Because it’s a slow leak, it’s most noticeable when you are sleeping on your side.

This is known as conductive hearing loss and affects how well you hear over the short term. Unfortunately, it can also cause the eardrum to burst, which leads to long-term hearing loss. Sensorineural hearing loss, which is damage to the nerves of the ear, can then happen.

It could cost you if you wait

If you’re having pain in your ear, get your ears checked by us. In many cases, a primary doctor assumes that the ear symptoms will clear themselves up when the initial cold clears up. A patient might not even think to mention that they are experiencing actual pain in the ear. But the infection has probably reached the point where it’s doing harm to the ear if you’re experiencing pain. It’s critical that the ear infection be addressed immediately to prevent more damage.

In many circumstances, ear pain will remain even after the cold goes away. Most people typically make the decision to see a hearing specialist at this point. But by this time, a lot of damage has already been done. Irreversible hearing loss is frequently the consequence and that’s even more true with people who get ear infections frequently.

Over time, hearing clarity is impacted by the small-scale scars and perforations of the eardrum which are the consequence of ear infections. The eardrum is a barrier between your inner and middle ear when it’s healthy and functioning in a normal capacity. Ear infections that were once restricted to the middle ear can go into the inner ear if the eardrum is lacerated even once. When the infection goes into the inner ear, it can irreversibly harm the nerve cells needed to hear.

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

Don’t beat yourself up. Most individuals 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 as soon as possible.

We will determine if you’re coping with conductive, or short-term hearing loss. You may need to have a blockage professionally extracted if this is the case. If you have 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 difficulty hearing after a cold.

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.