Individuals and Families

Can a Cold Affect Your Hearing?

blowing nose

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.

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 may 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
  • Earache

When you have a cold virus, do you experience hearing problems? How many days does your cold typically last?

  • Anonymous ,

    I have had hearing [issues] for two days due to my cold, and ears sometimes start to make pounding noises

    • Emily ,

      I have had hearing issues in my left ear for four days since I got a cold. My ear is pounding, and sometimes sharp pains go through it. Why?

      • Cameron ,

        I have had a cold for a couple weeks and my hearing started to decline about a week ago. I can hardly hear a thing and the only thing I can hear is clicking and a constant high pitch noise…

        • Ameritas Insight ,

          Colds do tend to affect our hearing in odd ways. Usually, when the cold runs its course, the other symptoms go away as well.

          • Dalia ,

            Uugh, I’ ve had a sore throat and stuffy nose lately . . . Such torture :(

            • Sam ,

              My ears echo and have slight pressure in them. It’s so annoying, they also keep making pounding sounds. On top of that, my hearing has gone down quit a bit.

              • mayur ,

                Is cold can affet my earing.i have being listing to tune in my ear for more than one week is this the reason because of cold .and please tell me the preventive measures

                • Ameritas Insight ,

                  Colds can affect your hearing. You may want to talk to your doctor about solutions or treatments.

                  • Kevin ,

                    i have a sudden hearing loss on my left ear. i have been listening to loud music with my earphone for a week and i also have cold for almost 2 week. what should i do? I’m hearing ringing sound and now experience pain.

                    • Ameritas Insight ,


                      If you’d like a professional diagnosis, we’d recommend seeing an audiologist. Audiologists diagnose and treat hearing problems. Hope you start to feel better.

                      • edwin tamplanza ,

                        Almost 2 months shortness of breath due to cold affecting my hearing prodlem

                        • shaan ,

                          High pitch sound / tune in ear is tinnitus which is very serious, since there are hardly any medicines to cure them. I’ve been hearing this sound since last 3 years. It happened quite a few times in my childhood that my hearing got affected due to cold, but it always returned to normal in say a fortnight or 3 weeks. But this time i had a perforated ear drum caused to a cracker explosion in my hand. The audiogram reported 30% loss of hearing in my right ear, while the shrill sound of tinnitus continued to reduce the efficiency of my brain. I visited an ENT specialistm he referred me to take in Neurokind Forte and then visit him after 6 months. In my 2nd visit after 6 months the 2nd audiogram showed only 5% improvement, so he changed the medicine and suggested me to have Neurokind Next and visit him after 1 year. According to the doctor the immunity of my body was so low that it couldn’t get the ruptured ear drum back into shape which happens generally. However it has been 2 years and i have been continuing with the same medicine and couldn’t visit the doctor due to social business. I was suggested to care of my health in the winters and never to get a cold since it may infect my ear and damage the hearing completely. I took all precautions in the first and the 2nd year but finally I got a loud cold this winter. Congestion has occupied my head, chest and years. It had been 2 weeks of severe cold and the most common medicines i used to drive away cold didn’t seem to work fine. It’s the 3rd week of loud cold and yesterday morning i could feel i lost some hearing in my left year which was mildly effected in the explosion, but it ultimately returned in an hour or two after i reached my office. While my right year has been secreting smelly fluids, sometimes bloody in color or dirty yellow since the last 2 weeks. This morning after getting up from bed I discovered that the hearing in my left ear has gone down again. I could not make out the directions from where the sounds are coming while I was in the traffic and even when i was in the canteen for my lunch. Hopefully this one turns out to be a congestion and clears in a few days, while I am taking amoxilin and planning for a ear drum surgery of my right year from a good doctor. So guys never neglect your ears. They are as precious as the eyes.

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