The first thing we think about when we hear the word ‘ear’ is hearing. We associate our ears with listening to sounds. In addition to hearing, we can also associate the ears with balance, our throats, and our nasal passages. Our ears are an intricate part of the body working hard to protect others organs while providing one of our five senses.
Continue reading to learn how the ear works and how it is affected by colds, allergies, and more.
How the Ear Works
The ear is defined as having three parts, outer, middle, and inner. Sound waves enter through the outer ear and travel through the ear canal to the ear drum in the middle and then sent to the brain through the inner ear.
Each part of the ear can be affected or show symptoms that point toward allergies or illness. The outer part of the ear can become red and swollen when you are fighting a cold. The middle part of the ear is where infections are most likely to occur due to the connection to the upper throat and Eustachian tube. Lastly, the inner ear can fill with fluid that can affect balance and cause dizziness.
Illness and Hearing
If you’ve ever felt congestion or popping in your ears, then you’ve felt the effects of allergies or a cold in your ear. The irritation occurs when swelling keeps the Eustachian tube, which connects the middle ear to the throat, open and fluid collects in the middle ear. At this point, it’s much easier for an ear infection to develop.
The effects of the flu can be more damaging to the ears. The flu virus can attack the inner ear and cause loss of hearing. It’s best to see a doctor quickly to treat the virus and prevent extensive damage.
Do you hear a constant ringing in your ears? You may have Tinnitus, which should be checked out, as this is actually more to do with your brain than your ears.
Once swelling from a cold or allergies subsides, you will find your ears return to normal. Decongestants and antihistamines can help alleviate pain. Other treatments include using a warm compress to help drain the ear.
To visit an office in Boise that offers expertise on a range of ear nose and throat care, contact us at (208) 336-4368 today.