The American Lung Association has found that the average adult gets up to four colds a year. While colds are usually minor viral infections, that’s a lot. Whether the virus attacks the throat, respiratory system, or sinuses, it can cause ear congestion, and ultimately, an infection in the ear.
Even though most people consider colds harmless, there are certain symptoms you don’t want to ignore. The link between the common cold and ear infections has finally been verified by researchers. This discovery is significant, because ear infections are a major contributing factor in the disturbing rise in antibiotic resistance.
Symptoms You Should Never Ignore
It’s very common to feel congested in your ears when you have a cold due to the fact that your sinuses and ears are connected. Normally, this feeling comes and goes, especially if you’re taking a decongestant and your head is draining out fluids. But congestion can turn into an ear infection in just a few hours. This is why you should always get 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 prevent permanent injury. If it’s ignored, it can lead to scarring on the eardrum and potentially injury to the cilia from inflammation.
How significant is this? A cold will usually only cause temporary issues with your hearing. 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 Overall Health
Hearing loss has been connected to other health problems, from loss of cognitive ability to depression to a rise in accidents. An increase in healthcare costs has been linked with loss of hearing by researchers recently. As a matter of fact, in only 10 years, neglected hearing loss can raise your healthcare costs by 46%.
Your probability of needing hospitalization with untreated hearing loss is increased by 50%….and the probability of being readmitted also increases.
It adds up each time your ears take even minor injury. Johns Hopkins found that just having mild hearing loss can double your probability of getting dementia. Consider the fact that every time you get an ear infection it can cause scarring that leads to significant hearing loss over time.
Have You Had Ear Pain For Several Days?
Have you had ear pain for days and neglected it? It’s a common mistake, but get treatment right away. There’s a reason most health insurance companies consider ear pain or indications of an ear infection an emergency. It’s important to get your ear checked out if you had any pain during your cold or are still having difficulty hearing after your cold is gone. If you get a hearing exam you can find out if:
- you currently have an ear infection
- there is damage to the eardrum that should be addressed
- there is any affect on your inner ear
A professional evaluation can also ensure that there are no obstructions in the ear that may cause discomfort or temporary loss of hearing.
Ear pain or prolonged hearing loss are certain signs that you need to see a professional. Schedule a hearing examination now.