Stephenville, TX

Abilene, Stephenville and Brownwood, TX

Are You Aware That Hearing Problems 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 often hear about is the one that moves into one or both ears. This type of cold can be more harmful than a common cold and shouldn’t ever be neglected.

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

Your sinuses are directly linked to your ears, so it’s normal to feel some blockage in your ears when you have a cold. Normally, when you use a decongestant for sinus relief, this blockage will also be relieved.

But if you feel pain in the ears, this is something you should never disregard, even during a cold. If the cold goes into the ear, the eardrum can be infected. When it does, swelling takes place. Inflammation is an immune reaction that causes fluid to accumulate on the outside of the eardrum. Frequently, a slow leaking fluid accompanies this inflammation. Because it’s a gradual leak, it’s most pronounced when you are sleeping on your side.

This is called conductive hearing loss and affects how well you hear over the short term. But long term hearing loss can also occur if this inflammation causes the eardrum to burst. Sensorineural hearing loss, which is damage to the nerves of the ear, can then occur.

Waiting could be costly

If you’re experiencing pain in your ear, have your ears tested by us. It’s not unusual for a primary care physician to wait until the cold is cleared up because they assume the ear pain will go away with it. Sometimes, a patient won’t even remember to mention any pain they might be experiencing in their ear. But the infection has most likely reached the point where it’s causing harm to the ear if you’re experiencing pain. In order to prevent additional damage, the ear infection has to be promptly treated.

Many people who develop pain in their ear during a cold, get over their cold only to notice that the ear pain lingers. This is usually when an individual finally decides to visit a hearing specialist. But by this time, a considerable amount of damage has already been done. This damage often causes an irreversible hearing loss, particularly if you’re at risk of ear infections.

Every time you get an infection, eardrum perforations and scar tissue can occur which, over time, can affect hearing clarity. The eardrum is a buffer between the inner and middle ear when it’s healthy and working in a normal capacity. If the eardrum becomes perforated even once, then the infection that was formerly restricted to the middle ear can now go into 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 addressed, what should you do?

Don’t be so hard on yourself. Most individuals just think ear pain with a cold is normal when it really signals a much more serious 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 will identify if you’re coping with conductive, or short-term hearing loss. If this is the situation, you might have an obstruction in your ear that needs to be removed by a professional. If the hearing loss is irreversible (sensorineural), we can discuss options that will help you hear better, including new hearing technology.

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.

Questions? Talk To Us.