Colds are an inevitable problem during the fall and winter seasons. In most cases, middle ear fluid, or “ear congestion,” lasts a few days during a cold virus and then dissipates. However, when the middle ear fluid causes pain or hearing loss lasting longer than a month, it is time to follow up with your physician.
Many conditions can mimic middle ear congestion. TMJ (temporal mandibular joint pain) is one cause that can be mistaken for middle ear fluid. Both produce a feeling of ear fullness. Tympanometry and a hearing test can provide your physician clues as to the cause and severity of your symptoms.
In some cases where there is chronic middle ear fluid, tubes are recommended. This treatment is obtained from an ear, nose, and throat specialist. Tubes help ventilate the middle ear where the fluid is located. After placement of tubes, the patient can tell when there is infection present so that treatment can be started.
If you have questions — whether you have ear congestion or if your hearing might be affected by other causes — contact your physician to find out what your next step should be and whether a hearing test would be helpful. Hearing tests are simple, painless, and will answer questions you might have about your symptoms.
On a Personal Note…
As the holiday season approaches, gatherings with family and friends help us focus on our daily blessings. Shopping, preparing, and sharing our time with others reminds us of the importance of our connections to friends and family.
Perhaps you know a friend or family member who is struggling with untreated hearing loss. Would you be willing to encourage them to get hearing help?
It takes time to learn to hear again. Your hearing journey begins with a hearing test and a plan. Start hearing better BEFORE the holiday season by helping someone you know hear more clearly. Parker Audiology offers a staff of audiologists ready to answer your questions about hearing loss, and we believe in communicating findings with your physician. Call us for an appointment.