The American Lung Association has found that the normal adult gets as many as four colds a year. That’s a lot even if most colds are minor viral infections. Whether the virus attacks the throat, respiratory system, or sinuses, it can lead to ear congestion, and eventually, an infection in the ear.
Although many people think colds are harmless, there are some symptoms you should never ignore. Researchers have finally affirmed the suspected link between ear infections and the common cold. This finding is significant, because ear infections are a major contributing variable in the disturbing rise in antibiotic resistance.
Symptoms You Should Never Ignore
It’s quite common to feel congested in your ears when you’re suffering from a cold because your sinuses and ears are linked. Typically, this feeling comes and goes, particularly if you’re using a decongestant and your head is draining out fluids. But congestion can develop into an ear infection in just a few hours. This is the reason why you should always seek expert help if you have any pain or unusual discharge in your ear.
Pain can be an indication 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. It can result in eardrum scaring and may damage the cilia if dismissed.
How serious is this? Usually, 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 issues.
Loss of Hearing Can Impact Your Overall Health
Hearing loss has been linked to other health problems, from loss of cognitive capability to depression to an increase in accidents. Researchers have recently found a connection between hearing loss and more expensive healthcare costs. In fact, in only ten years, untreated hearing loss can increase your healthcare costs by 46%.
Loss of hearing can also increase your likelihood of needing to be hospitalized by 50%….and the chance of being readmitted also increases.
Even a small amount of injury can add up. Even mild hearing loss can, Johns Hopkins found, double your probability 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? It’s a common mistake, but seek treatment right away. There’s a reason why the majority of health insurance companies consider ear pain or indications of an ear infection an emergency. If you feel pain in your ear during a cold or after a cold schedule a hearing test. A professional exam can determine whether:
- you currently have an infection
- there is injury to the eardrum that needs to be addressed
- your inner ear is affected
A professional examination can also ensure that there are no blockages in the ear that may cause irritation or temporary hearing loss.
It’s a definite sign that you need to see a professional if you have sustained hearing loss or ear pain. Schedule a hearing test today.