The American Lung Association reports that the normal adult gets up to four colds a year. While colds are usually minor viral infections, that’s a lot. Whether the virus attacks the respiratory system, throat, or sinuses, it can produce ear congestion, and ultimately, an ear infection.
There are some 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 researchers. This finding is significant, because ear infections are a significant contributing factor in the troubling rise in antibiotic resistance.
Symptoms You Should Never Ignore
It’s quite ordinary to feel stuffed up in your ears when you’re suffering from a cold because your sinuses and ears are linked. If you’re taking a decongestant, and your head is draining fluids, this feeling usually comes and goes. But in just a few hours congestion can turn into an ear infection. This is why you should always get professional help if you have any pain or unusual discharge in your ear.
Pain can be evidence of inflammation and infection and is a signal your cold is moving in the wrong direction. If you take care of it early enough, you can get a prescription for antibiotics and prevent permanent damage. It can lead to eardrum scaring and might harm the cilia if ignored.
Is this very serious? A cold will generally only cause temporary issues with your hearing. However, permanent hearing loss can result if the eardrum or cilia become damaged and that can result in other health problems.
Hearing Loss Can Harm Your General Health
Loss of cognitive capacity, depression, an increase in accidents, and other health concerns are associated with hearing loss. Researchers have recently found a connection between hearing loss and more expensive healthcare costs. In fact, in only 10 years, untreated hearing loss can increase your healthcare costs by 46%.
Hearing loss can also raise your likelihood of needing hospitalization by 50%….and the chance of needing to be readmitted also increases.
It adds up every time your ears take even minor injury. Johns Hopkins discovered that just having mild hearing loss can double your probability of getting dementia. Consider the fact that significant hearing loss can be caused by scarring on the eardrum from recurring ear infections.
Having Ear Pain for Days?
Have you already ignored ear pain for days? It’s a typical mistake, but get treatment right away. Most health insurance companies consider symptoms of an ear infection or ear pain an emergency and there’s a good reason for that. If ear pain has occurred during a cold or after a cold get a hearing exam. If you schedule a hearing test you can find out if:
- you currently have an ear infection
- there is damage to the eardrum that should be dealt with
- your inner ear is affected
A professional assessment can also make sure there are no blockages in the ear that may cause discomfort or temporary hearing loss.
It’s a definite sign that you need to see a professional if you have prolonged hearing loss or ear pain. Schedule a hearing test now.