Depending on where you live, allergy season can be all year long. From pollen to pet dander, allergies can range from a small inconvenience to a daily battle that impacts your quality of life. Runny nose and itchy eyes are the symptoms people are most familiar with and can be the first indication that you’re suffering from allergies.
But more advanced symptoms, like poor balance, tinnitus, and hearing loss often happen. Added pressure in the middle and inner ear are responsible for these symptoms.
Why do Allergies Impact Your Hearing?
When your body detects an environmental allergen it responds by discharging a chemical called histamine. This release leads to the familiar sniffles and itchy eye symptoms of allergies. One less prevalent symptom is the buildup of fluid in your middle and inner ear. This is how your body stops the allergen from getting deeper into your ear canal. The resulting pressure can cause issues with your equilibrium leading to a clogged ear, trouble hearing, and balance issues.
Treatment Solutions For Hearing Loss Caused by Allergies
Allergies can be treated in several different ways. Most people start with over-the-counter products like Zyrtec, Claritin, and Allegra. Mild cases can be successfully treated within a couple of days and initial relief typically begins after the first dose. These products are also safe for extended long term use if need be. Others, such as Benadryl, Sudafed, and Afrin, can be used temporarily for relief, but are not recommended for continuous use because they can cause unwanted side effects.
There are also natural approaches that can be used by themselves or combined with over-the-counter remedies. These include saline sprays or a Neti pot. A vapor tablet, in some situations, when used in a hot shower can be really helpful also. You can also make changes to your environment such as getting an air purifier, cleaning dust off surfaces with a damp cloth, and washing your fabrics with hot water every couple of weeks. If you have pets and have a problem with pet dander, be sure to bathe your pet frequently.
If None of These Help
For some individuals over-the-counter and natural solutions won’t be sufficient. When none of these solutions help over the course of a few weeks professional help might be needed. To figure out if you need an allergy shot, you will need to consult an allergist. Every week for around six months a shot will be given in increasing doses then the shots will be decreased to one every month. These shots work by introducing a small bit of allergen into your system which enables your body to learn how to cope with it. Though it only takes around eight months for patients to feel some relief, this therapy will require a long term commitment of as much as five years.
If none of the above strategies deliver relief, and you’ve made sure the pressure in your ears isn’t due to an ear infection, then it is time to have your hearing checked.