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.

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