The American Lung Association has found that the normal adult gets as many as four colds every year. While colds are normally minor viral infections, that’s a lot. Whether the virus attacks the throat, respiratory system, or sinuses, it can produce ear congestion, and ultimately, an ear infection.
There are a few symptoms of a cold you don’t want to ignore even though colds are normally thought to be harmless. The link between the common cold and ear infections has finally been verified by scientists. This is an important discovery, because ear infections are a significant contributing variable in the troubling rise in antibiotic resistance.
You Should Never Ignore These Symptoms
Considering that your sinuses and ears are connected, it’s not unusual to feel stuffed up in your ears when you have a cold. Usually, this feeling comes and goes, specifically if you’re using a decongestant and your head is draining out fluids. But in just a few hours congestion can turn into an ear infection. This is why you should always get expert assistance if you have any pain or unusual discharge in your ear.
Pain can be an indication of inflammation and infection and is a signal your cold is getting worse. If caught early, you can get a prescription for antibiotics and avoid permanent damage. If it’s neglected, it can lead to scarring on the eardrum and possibly damage to the cilia from inflammation.
How significant is this? Generally, cold induced hearing loss is only temporary. Damage to your eardrum or cilia, however, can result in permanent hearing loss…which can lead to other health problems.
Your General Health Can be Impacted by Loss of Hearing
Hearing loss has been associated with other health concerns, from loss of cognitive capability to depression to an increase in accidents. An increase in healthcare costs has been connected to hearing loss by researchers recently. In fact, in only ten years, neglected hearing loss can increase your healthcare expenses by 46%.
Loss of hearing can also raise your chance of needing hospitalization by 50%….and the likelihood of needing to be readmitted also increases.
Even a small amount of injury can add up. Johns Hopkins discovered that just having slight hearing loss can double your risk of getting dementia. Consider the fact that significant hearing loss can be caused by scarring on the eardrum from recurring ear infections.
Have You Had Ear Pain For Days?
Have you had ear pain for days and ignored it? Seek treatment immediately. Don’t make the common mistake of putting it off. Most health insurance companies consider symptoms of an ear infection or ear pain an emergency and there’s a good reason for that. If you feel pain in your ear during a cold or after a cold get a hearing test. If you get a hearing test you can find out if:
- You have an infection currently
- there is damage to the eardrum that needs to be addressed
- your inner ear is impacted
A professional assessment can also ensure that there are no obstructions in the ear that might cause discomfort or temporary loss of hearing.
Ear pain or chronic loss of hearing are certain signs that you need to see a professional. Schedule an appointment today.