Posted October 10, 2016
Have you ever experienced a cold with heavy congestion, affecting your ability to breathe, blow your nose, swallow or even hear normally?
Colds are often caused by rhinoviruses – invisible droplets in the air we breathe or on things we touch. Scientists have discovered that there are more than 105 different types of rhinoviruses that can attack your immune system and make you sick. But can a cold really affect your hearing?
Sometimes a cold virus causes a buildup of fluid in the middle ear, making it difficult for sounds to travel efficiently from the outer ear to the eardrum. Individuals may notice a clicking sound in their ear, or that conversations and noises are muffled. The congestion may also lead to an ear infection, caused by bacteria or a virus in the middle ear, and lead to temporary hearing loss. The fluid, which may stay in the middle ear for weeks or even months, usually goes away independently, or medications may be prescribed to assist with the healing. Once it is gone, your hearing should return to normal.
Medical professionals advise individuals with a cold to get plenty of rest, avoid vigorous exercise, drink lots of fluids and stay away from others to prevent spreading germs.
A cold can develop into a more serious illness. Contact your physician if these symptoms occur:
- Coughing up large amounts of mucus
- Shortness of breath
- Frequent dizziness
- Inability to keep down fluids or foods
- Facial pain, throbbing headache, or a painful sore throat that interferes with swallowing
- Unusual tiredness
- Fever of 101 degrees or higher lasting more than one day
- Chest or stomach pain
- Swollen glands in the neck
When you have a cold virus, do you experience hearing problems? How many days does your cold typically last?