A report by The American Lung Association states that the average adult gets as many as four colds every year. That’s a lot even if most colds are minor viral infections. Whether the virus attacks the sinuses, throat or respiratory system, it can lead to ear congestion, and ultimately, an ear infection.
Even though many people think colds are harmless, there are some symptoms you should never ignore. Researchers have finally confirmed the suspected connection between ear infections and the common cold. This discovery is significant, because ear infections are a major contributing factor in the disturbing rise in antibiotic resistance.
You Should Never Ignore These Symptoms
It’s really ordinary to feel stuffed up in your ears when you have a cold because your sinuses and ears are connected. Ordinarily, this feeling comes and goes, especially if you’re taking a decongestant and your head is draining fluids. But congestion can turn 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 assistance.
Pain can be an indication of inflammation and infection and is a signal your cold is getting worse. You can protect against permanent damage, if detected early enough, by getting a prescription for antibiotics. It can lead to eardrum scaring and may damage the cilia if dismissed.
How serious is this? A cold will normally only cause temporary issues with your hearing. Damage to your eardrum or cilia, however, can lead to permanent hearing loss…which can lead to other health problems.
Loss of Hearing Can Impact Your General Health
Hearing loss has been associated with other health problems, from loss of cognitive capability to depression to a rise in accidents. Researchers have recently shown a link between loss of hearing and increased healthcare costs. In fact, in only ten years, untreated hearing loss can increase your healthcare costs by 46%.
Your likelihood of needing hospitalization with untreated hearing loss increases by 50%….and also increase the likelihood of needing to be readmitted.
It adds up every time your ears take even minor damage. Johns Hopkins discovered that just having slight hearing loss can 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.
Suffering From Pain for Days?
Have you already ignored ear pain for days? It’s a common oversight, but get treatment immediately. There’s a reason most health insurance companies consider ear pain or signs of an ear infection an emergency. It’s necessary to get your ear checked out if you had any pain over the course of your cold or are still experiencing trouble hearing after your cold has cleared. If you get a hearing test you can find out if:
- there is injury to the eardrum that should be addressed
- You have an ear infection right now
- your inner ear is impacted
A professional evaluation can also ensure that there are no obstructions in the ear that could cause discomfort or temporary hearing loss.
It’s a definite sign that you should see a professional if you have prolonged hearing loss or pain in your ear. Schedule an appointment right away.