Depending on where you live, allergy season can be all year long. Allergies can range from minimal to acute and can be caused by everything from pollen to pet dander. Runny nose and itchy eyes are the symptoms that are most familiar and can be the first sign that you’re dealing with allergies.
But some will experience enhanced symptoms such as hearing loss, bad balance, and tinnitus. Increased pressure in the middle and inner ear are responsible for these symptoms.
Why do Allergies Impair Your Hearing?
When your body detects an environmental allergen it responds by releasing a chemical called histamine. This release causes the familiar itchy eye symptoms and sniffles of allergies. One less prevalent symptom is fluid build up 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 problems with your equilibrium leading to a clogged ear, difficulty hearing, and balance issues.
Treatment For Hearing Loss Caused by Allergies
There are numerous ways to manage the symptoms of allergies. Most people start with over-the-counter products like Zyrtec, Claritin, and Allegra. Minor cases can be successfully treated within a couple of days and initial relief normally starts after the first dose. Extended use of these products is also safe. Others, like Benadryl, Sudafed, and Afrin, can be used short term for relief, but are not recommended for long term use because they can cause undesirable side effects.
There are also natural approaches that can be used on their own or in combination with over-the-counter remedies. These include saline sprays or a Neti pot. In some cases, even an ordinary hot shower can lead to improvement, particularly when paired with a vapor tablet. You can also take steps to change your environment such as purchasing an air purifier, cleaning dust off surfaces with a damp cloth, and washing your fabrics in hot water every two weeks. If you have pets and have a problem with pet dander, make sure you give your pets a bath regularly.
When Nothing Else Helps
For some people over-the-counter and natural treatments won’t be sufficient. When none of these approaches help over the course of a few weeks professional help may be needed. To find out if you require an allergy shot, you will have to go see an allergist. Every week for around six months a shot will be given in increasing doses then the shots will be decreased to once a month. Small amounts of the allergen will be introduced into your system allowing your body to slowly learn how to deal with it. This therapy does demand a long-term commitment of up to five years, although, patients tend to feel relief starting at about eight months.
If you still have pressure in your ears and none of these methods help, it’s time to have a hearing test.