The American Lung Association has found that the average adult gets as many as four colds a year. Even though 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 ear infection.
Although many people think colds are harmless, there are certain symptoms you don’t want to dismiss. The connection between the common cold and ear infections has finally been verified by researchers. This is an important finding, because ear infections are a major contributing factor in the disturbing rise in antibiotic resistance.
You Should Never Ignore These Symptoms
Considering that your sinuses and ears are interconnected, it’s not uncommon to feel congested in your ears when you’re experiencing a cold. If you’re using 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 the reason why you should always get expert help if you have any pain or unusual discharge in your ear.
Pain can be evidence of inflammation and infection and is a sign your cold is getting worse. If caught early, you can get a prescription for antibiotics and avoid permanent injury. If it’s dismissed, it can result in scarring on the eardrum and potentially injury to the cilia from inflammation.
How serious is this? Usually, cold related hearing loss is only temporary. However, permanent loss of hearing can result if the eardrum or cilia become injured and that can lead to other health issues.
Your Overall Health Can be Impacted by Hearing Loss
Loss of cognitive capacity, depression, more accidents, and other health concerns are connected to loss of hearing. An increase in healthcare costs has been linked with hearing loss by researchers recently. As a matter of fact, in only 10 years, untreated hearing loss can raise your healthcare costs by 46%.
Your probability of needing hospitalization with untreated hearing loss increases by 50%….and the probability of being readmitted also increases.
It adds up each time your ears take even minor injury. Even slight hearing loss can, Johns Hopkins found, double your probability of getting dementia. Think about the fact that each time you get an ear infection it can cause scarring that leads to considerable hearing loss over time.
Have You Had Ear Pain For Days?
Have you already ignored ear pain for days? It’s a common mistake, but seek treatment right away. There’s a reason the majority of health insurance companies consider ear pain or signs of an ear infection an emergency. If ear pain has occurred when you have a cold or after a cold schedule a hearing test. A professional exam can tell you whether:
- You have an ear infection right now
- there is any impact on your inner ear
- there is injury to the eardrum that needs to be addressed
A professional evaluation can also ensure that there are no obstructions in the ear that may cause irritation or temporary loss of hearing.
It’s a definite indication that you need to consult a professional if you have prolonged hearing loss or ear pain. Schedule an appointment right away.