A report by The American Lung Association states that the normal adult gets as many as four colds every year. Although colds are usually minor viral infections, that’s still a lot. Whether the virus attacks the respiratory system, throat, or sinuses, it can lead to ear congestion, and ultimately, an infection in the ear.
Although many people think colds are harmless, there are a few symptoms you should never dismiss. The connection between the common cold and ear infections has finally been verified by scientists. This is an important finding, because ear infections are a major contributing variable in the disturbing rise in antibiotic resistance.
Symptoms You Should Never Ignore
Because your sinuses and ears are interconnected, it’s not unusual to feel congested in your ears when you have a cold. Ordinarily, this feeling comes and goes, especially if you’re using a decongestant and your head is draining out fluids. But in only a few hours congestion can develop into an ear infection. This is why you should always seek expert help if you have any pain or unusual discharge in your ear.
Pain is a hint that your cold is moving in the wrong direction and can be an indication of inflammation or infection. If caught early, you can get a prescription for antibiotics and avoid permanent injury. It can lead to eardrum scaring and could damage the cilia if neglected.
How significant is this? Generally, cold induced hearing loss is only temporary. Injury to your eardrum or cilia, however, can lead to permanent hearing loss…which can lead to other health problems.
Hearing Loss Can Impact Your General Health
Hearing loss has been connected to other health issues, from loss of cognitive ability to depression to an increase in accidents. Researchers have recently shown a connection between hearing loss and increased healthcare costs. In fact, in only ten years, neglected hearing loss can raise your healthcare costs by 46%.
Loss of hearing can also increase your probability of needing hospitalization by 50%….and the chance of needing to be readmitted also increases.
Even a small amount of injury can add up. Johns Hopkins discovered that just having slight hearing loss can double your chances of getting dementia. Consider the fact that every time you have an ear infection it can lead to scarring that leads to significant hearing loss over time.
Have You Had Ear Pain For Days?
Have you had ear pain for days and neglected it? Seek treatment right away. Don’t make the normal mistake of putting it off. There’s a reason the majority of health insurance companies consider ear pain or signs of an ear infection an emergency. It’s important to get your ear examined if you had any pain over the course of your cold or are still experiencing difficulty hearing after your cold is gone. A professional exam can determine if:
- you currently have an ear infection
- there is any affect on your inner ear
- you need to deal with damage to the eardrum
A professional assessment can also ensure that there are no obstructions in the ear that could cause irritation or temporary loss of hearing.
It’s a definite indication that you need to see a professional if you have sustained hearing loss or ear pain. Schedule an appointment today.