Winter is coming. While Texas may not see temperatures drop into the single digits or mountains of snow, that does little to prevent the arrival of cold and flu season. In addition to causing you to feel miserable, a winter cold can harm your ears.
Is It a Cold or the Flu?
Telling a cold apart from the flu can be challenging, since they share many of the same symptoms. But understanding what type of virus is responsible for your respiratory illness is key in your treatment.
Common symptoms shared by both conditions include:
- Sore throat.
- Runny or stuffy nose.
- Muscle or body aches.
According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a simple way to tell the difference between the two is the onset of symptoms. Symptoms come on abruptly with the flu, while they are more gradual with a cold. Symptoms are usually milder with a cold, and a headache and fever are rare. The length of time you are sick is also a good indicator. Colds typically last for a week to 10 days while a flu can linger for weeks.
Temporary Auditory Problems
Temporary hearing loss is often the result of congestion. Buildup in the middle ear can make it challenging for soundwaves to travel through the ear. The Eustachian tubes, which connect the middle ear with the back of the throat and are responsible for regulating pressure within the ear, can also become blocked. This can lead to a feeling of fullness or pressure in your ears.
Balance problems and tinnitus may also occur with an infection. Like hearing loss, these symptoms usually fade when you begin to feel better.
Permanent Hearing Loss
While significantly less common, permanent hearing loss can occur. In rare instances, the flu virus can damage the auditory nerve that connects the inner ear and the brain, leading to irreversible hearing loss.
Is There Treatment?
Your hearing loss symptoms will usually go away on their own. An over-the-counter decongestant from Rose City Pharmacy can help you find temporary relief. To learn more about treating your hearing loss as the result of a viral infection or to schedule an appointment with an expert, contact SoundLogic today.