The American Lung Association reports that the average 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 lead to ear congestion, and eventually, an infection in the ear.
There are a few cold symptoms you don’t want to ignore despite the fact that colds are usually thought to be harmless. Researchers have finally affirmed the suspected connection between ear infections and the common cold. This is an important discovery, because ear infections are a major contributing factor in the disturbing rise in antibiotic resistance.
Symptoms You Should Never Ignore
Because your sinuses and ears are connected, it’s not uncommon to feel stuffed up in your ears when you have a cold. Normally, this feeling comes and goes, especially if you’re using a decongestant and your head is draining out fluids. But congestion can develop into an ear infection in only a few hours. This is the reason that if you’re experiencing pain or discharge in your ears you need to seek professional help.
Pain is a sign that your cold is moving in the wrong direction and can be evidence of inflammation or infection. If you take care of it early enough, you can get a prescription for antibiotics and prevent permanent injury. It can lead to eardrum scaring and may harm the cilia if dismissed.
How serious is this? A cold will usually only cause temporary issues with your hearing. However, permanent hearing loss can result if the eardrum or cilia get injured and that can lead to other health problems.
Loss of Hearing Can Impact Your Overall Health
Loss of cognitive ability, depression, an increase in accidents, and other health concerns have been connected to loss of hearing. Researchers have recently found a connection between hearing loss and more expensive healthcare expenses. As a matter of fact, in only 10 years, untreated hearing loss can raise your healthcare expenses by 46%.
Your probability of needing hospitalization with untreated hearing loss increases by 50%….and the likelihood of needing to be readmitted also increases.
It adds up every time your ears take even minor injury. Johns Hopkins found that just having mild hearing loss can double your risk of getting dementia. Consider the fact that considerable hearing loss can be caused by scarring on the eardrum from recurring ear infections.
Having Ear Pain for Days?
Have you already neglected ear pain for days? Seek treatment immediately. Don’t make the normal mistake of waiting too long. Most health insurance companies consider symptoms of an ear infection or ear pain an emergency and there’s good reason for that. It’s necessary to get your ear evaluated if you had any pain over the course of your cold or are still having trouble hearing after your cold is gone. If you get a hearing test you can find out if:
- your inner ear is affected
- you need to deal with injury to the eardrum
- you currently have an infection
Discomfort or temporary hearing loss can be caused by an obstruction in the ear which can also be determined by a professional ear exam.
It’s a sure indication that you should see a professional if you have prolonged hearing loss or pain in your ear. Schedule an appointment now.