The American Lung Association has found that the normal adult gets as many as four colds every year. While colds are usually minor viral infections, that’s a lot. Whether the virus attacks the throat, respiratory system, or sinuses, 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 link between ear infections and the common cold. This is an important discovery, because ear infections are a major contributing variable in the troubling rise in antibiotic resistance.
Symptoms You Should Never Ignore
Considering that your sinuses and ears are interconnected, it’s not unusual to feel stuffed up in your ears when you have a cold. Usually, this feeling comes and goes, specifically if you’re using 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 why you should always get professional help if you experience any pain or unusual discharge in your ear.
Pain can be an indication of inflammation and infection and is a signal your cold is getting worse. You can avoid permanent injury, if detected early enough, by getting a prescription for antibiotics. If it’s neglected, it can result in scarring on the eardrum and potentially injury to the cilia from inflammation.
How significant is this? Normally, cold induced 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 Overall Health Can be Harmed by Loss of Hearing
Hearing loss has been connected to other health issues, from loss of cognitive capability to depression to a rise in accidents. An increase in healthcare costs has been linked with hearing loss by researchers recently. In fact, in only a decade, untreated hearing loss can raise your healthcare costs by 46%.
Your likelihood of needing hospitalization with untreated hearing loss increases by 50%….and the chance of being 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 repeated ear infections.
Suffering From Pain for Days?
Have you been suffered from ear pain for days and ignored it? Seek treatment immediately. Don’t make the common mistake of putting it off. Most health insurance companies consider signs of an ear infection or ear pain an emergency and there’s good reason for that. If you feel pain in your ear when you have a cold or after a cold schedule a hearing test. If you get a hearing exam you can find out if:
- you currently have an infection
- there is damage to the eardrum that needs to be dealt with
- there is any affect on your inner ear
A professional examination can also make sure there are no obstructions in the ear that may cause discomfort or temporary loss of hearing.
It’s a definite sign that you need to see a professional if you have prolonged loss of hearing or pain in your ear. Schedule a hearing exam today.