The American Lung Association reports that the average adult gets up to four colds a year. That’s a lot even if most colds are minor viral infections. Whether the virus attacks the respiratory system, throat, or sinuses, it can lead to ear congestion, and ultimately, an ear infection.
Although most people consider colds harmless, there are a few symptoms you shouldn’t ever dismiss. Scientists have finally confirmed the suspected connection between ear infections and the common cold. This is an important discovery, because ear infections are a significant contributing factor in the disturbing rise in antibiotic resistance.
Symptoms You Should Never Ignore
Because your sinuses and ears are connected, it’s not uncommon to feel congested in your ears when you have a cold. Usually, this feeling comes and goes, especially 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 the reason that if you’re experiencing pain or discharge in your ears you need to seek professional advice.
Pain can be an indication of inflammation and infection and is a sign your cold is moving in the wrong direction. You can protect against permanent injury, if caught early enough, by getting a prescription for antibiotics. If it’s dismissed, it can lead to scarring on the eardrum and potentially damage to the cilia from inflammation.
How serious is this? Normally, cold induced hearing loss is only temporary. However, permanent hearing loss can result if the eardrum or cilia become damaged and that can result in other health issues.
Loss of Hearing Can Impact Your Overall Health
Hearing loss has been connected to other health problems, from loss of cognitive ability to depression to a rise in accidents. Researchers have recently found a link between loss of hearing and increased healthcare costs. As a matter of fact, in just ten years, untreated hearing loss can increase your healthcare costs by 46%.
Hearing loss can also raise your probability of needing to be hospitalized by 50%….and also increase the probability of needing to be readmitted.
It adds up every time your ears take even minor damage. 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.
Suffering From Pain for Days?
Have you already neglected ear pain for days? Get treatment immediately. Don’t make the normal mistake of waiting too long. The majority of health insurance companies consider symptoms of an ear infection or ear pain an emergency and there’s good reason for that. It’s necessary to get your ear checked out if you had any pain over the course of your cold or are still having difficulty hearing after your cold is gone. If you schedule a hearing test you can find out if:
- your inner ear is impacted
- you currently have an ear infection
- you need to address injury to the eardrum
A professional evaluation can also ensure that there are no obstructions in the ear that could cause irritation or temporary loss of hearing.
Ear pain or chronic hearing loss are certain signs that you should see a professional. Schedule a hearing exam now.