A study by The American Lung Association states that the average adult gets as many as four colds every year. That’s a lot even if the majority of colds are minor viral infections. It doesn’t make a difference what part of the body the virus attacks, if it results in congestion, it can cause an ear infection.
Although many people think colds are harmless, there are a few symptoms you should never ignore. The connection between the common cold and ear infections has finally been confirmed by scientists. This is an important discovery, because ear infections are a major contributing factor in the disturbing rise in antibiotic resistance.
You Should Never Ignore These Symptoms
Because your sinuses and ears are connected, it’s not uncommon to feel stuffed up in your ears when you’re experiencing a cold. If you’re taking a decongestant, and your head is draining fluids, this feeling generally comes and goes. But in just a few hours congestion can turn into an ear infection. This is the reason that if you have pain or discharge in your ears you need to get professional help.
Pain can be evidence of inflammation and infection and is a signal your cold is moving in the wrong direction. If you take care of it early enough, you can get a prescription for antibiotics and prevent permanent injury. It can result in eardrum scaring and may harm the cilia if neglected.
Is this very serious? A cold will generally only cause temporary problems with your hearing. Damage to your eardrum or cilia, however, can lead to permanent hearing loss…which can lead to other health problems.
Your General Health Can be Impacted by Loss of Hearing
Loss of cognitive ability, depression, an increase in accidents, and other health problems have been connected to hearing loss. Researchers have recently found a link between hearing loss and more expensive healthcare expenses. In fact, in only ten years, neglected hearing loss can increase your healthcare expenses by 46%.
Loss of hearing can also increase your likelihood of needing hospitalization by 50%….and the chance of needing to be readmitted also increases.
Even a small amount of injury can add up. Johns Hopkins found that just having mild 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 repeated ear infections.
Have You Had Ear Pain For Days?
Have you had ear pain for days and neglected it? It’s a common mistake, but get treatment immediately. Most health insurance companies consider signs of an ear infection or ear pain an emergency and there’s good reason for that. It’s important to get your ear examined if you had any pain during your cold or are still having trouble hearing after your cold is gone. A professional exam can tell you whether:
- there is injury to the eardrum that needs to be dealt with
- your inner ear is affected
- you currently have an ear infection
Pain or temporary loss of hearing can be caused by an obstruction in the ear that can also be determined by a professional ear test.
Ear pain or chronic loss of hearing are sure signs that you need to see a professional. Schedule an appointment now.