The American Lung Association reports that the typical adult gets up to four colds a year. While colds are normally minor viral infections, that’s still a lot. Whether the virus attacks the sinuses, throat or respiratory system, it can produce ear congestion, and ultimately, an infection in the ear.
There are a few cold symptoms you don’t want to ignore even though colds are usually considered harmless. Scientists have finally affirmed the suspected link between ear infections and the common cold. This is an important finding, because ear infections are a significant contributing factor in the disturbing rise in antibiotic resistance.
You Should Never Ignore These Symptoms
Because your sinuses and ears are connected, it’s not unusual to feel stuffed up in your ears when you’re experiencing a cold. Ordinarily, this feeling comes and goes, particularly if you’re taking 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 get professional advice.
Pain can be evidence of inflammation and infection and is a sign your cold is moving in the wrong direction. You can prevent permanent damage, if caught early enough, by getting a prescription for antibiotics. If it’s ignored, it can result in scarring on the eardrum and potentially injury to the cilia from inflammation.
How significant is this? Generally, cold related hearing loss is only temporary. Injury to your eardrum or cilia, however, can result in permanent hearing loss…which can lead to other health problems.
Your Overall Health Can be Harmed by Loss of Hearing
Loss of cognitive capacity, depression, more accidents, and other health problems have been connected to hearing loss. Researchers have recently shown a link between hearing loss and increased healthcare costs. As a matter of fact, in only a decade, untreated hearing loss can raise your healthcare costs by 46%.
Hearing loss can also increase your probability of needing to be hospitalized by 50%….and the chance of being readmitted also increases.
Even minor damage can add up. Even mild hearing loss can, Johns Hopkins found, double your risk of getting dementia. Consider the fact that significant hearing loss can be caused by scarring on the eardrum from repeated ear infections.
Have You Had Ear Pain For Several Days?
Have you already ignored ear pain for days? Seek treatment right away. Don’t make the normal mistake of putting it off. The majority of health insurance companies consider signs of an ear infection or ear pain an emergency and there’s a good reason for that. It’s important to get your ear examined if you had any pain over the course of your cold or are still having trouble hearing after your cold is gone. A professional evaluation can determine whether:
- there is damage to the eardrum that should be addressed
- you currently have an ear infection
- there is any affect on your inner ear
A professional examination can also make sure there are no blockages in the ear that could cause discomfort or temporary loss of hearing.
Ear pain or prolonged hearing loss are certain signs that you need to see a professional. Schedule a hearing test now.