The American Lung Association reports that the normal adult gets as many as four colds a year. While colds are normally minor viral infections, that’s a lot. It doesn’t make a difference what part of the body the virus attacks, if it leads to congestion, it can cause an ear infection.
Even though many people think colds are harmless, there are a few symptoms you shouldn’t ever dismiss. 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 troubling rise in antibiotic resistance.
Symptoms You Should Never Ignore
It’s quite common to feel congested in your ears when you have a cold because your sinuses and ears are connected. If you’re taking a decongestant, and your head is draining fluids, this feeling generally comes and goes. But congestion can turn into an ear infection in just a few hours. This is the reason why you should always get expert help if you experience any pain or abnormal discharge in your ear.
Pain can be evidence of inflammation and infection and is a sign your cold is moving in the wrong direction. You can protect against permanent damage, if detected early enough, by getting a prescription for antibiotics. If it’s ignored, it can result in scarring on the eardrum and potentially damage to the cilia from inflammation.
How serious is this? Usually, cold related hearing loss is only temporary. Damage to your eardrum or cilia, however, can lead to permanent hearing loss…which can lead to other health issues.
Loss of Hearing Can Impact Your General Health
Hearing loss has been linked to other health issues, from loss of cognitive capability to depression to a rise in accidents. Researchers have recently shown a connection between loss of hearing and more expensive healthcare costs. As a matter of fact, in just ten years, neglected hearing loss can increase your healthcare expenses by 46%.
Hearing loss can also increase your probability of needing hospitalization by 50%….and also increase the probability of needing to be readmitted.
Even a small amount of damage can add up. Even slight hearing loss can, Johns Hopkins found, double your risk of getting dementia. Think about the fact that each time you have an ear infection it can cause scarring that leads to considerable hearing loss over time.
Having Ear Pain for Days?
Have you already ignored ear pain for days? It’s a typical mistake, but seek treatment right away. There’s a reason why most health insurance companies consider ear pain or indications of an ear infection an emergency. It’s necessary to get your ear examined if you had any pain during your cold or are still experiencing trouble hearing after your cold has cleared. A professional exam can determine whether:
- your inner ear is affected
- You have an ear infection currently
- there is damage to the eardrum that should be dealt with
A professional evaluation can also make sure there are no blockages in the ear that could cause irritation or temporary hearing loss.
Ear pain or prolonged loss of hearing are sure signs that you need to see a professional. Schedule a hearing test today.