A report by The American Lung Association states that the normal adult gets as many as four colds every year. That’s a lot even if the majority of colds are minor viral infections. Whether the virus attacks the sinuses, throat or respiratory system, it can produce ear congestion, and ultimately, an ear infection.
Even though many people consider colds harmless, there are certain symptoms you should never ignore. Researchers have finally confirmed the suspected connection between ear infections and the common cold. 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 connected, it’s not uncommon to feel stuffed up in your ears when you have a cold. Typically, this feeling comes and goes, especially if you’re taking 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 that if you’re experiencing pain or discharge in your ears you should seek professional help.
Pain is a hint that your cold is getting worse and can be an indication of inflammation or infection. You can avoid 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 possibly injury to the cilia from inflammation.
How significant is this? Normally, cold related hearing loss is only temporary. Injury to your eardrum or cilia, however, can lead to permanent hearing loss…which can lead to other health issues.
Your General Health Can be Impacted by Loss of Hearing
Hearing loss has been connected to other health concerns, from loss of cognitive ability to depression to a rise in accidents. Researchers have recently shown a connection between loss of hearing and increased healthcare costs. As a matter of fact, in just ten years, neglected hearing loss can raise your healthcare expenses by 46%.
Your likelihood of requiring hospitalization with untreated hearing loss is increased by 50%….and the probability of needing to be readmitted also increases.
Even a small amount of damage can add up. Even slight 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 recurring ear infections.
Have You Had Ear Pain For Days?
Have you already neglected ear pain for days? Seek treatment right away. Don’t make the common mistake of putting it off. The majority of health insurance companies consider signs of an ear infection or ear pain an emergency and there’s a good reason for that. It’s important to get your ear checked out if you had any pain over the course of your cold or are still experiencing difficulty hearing after your cold is gone. If you get a hearing test you can find out if:
- you currently have an ear infection
- your inner ear is affected
- there is injury to the eardrum that needs to be addressed
Discomfort or temporary loss of hearing can be caused by an obstruction in the ear that can also be identified by a professional ear examination.
Ear pain or chronic hearing loss are sure signs that you need to see a professional. Schedule an appointment today.