All year is allergy season in some places. From pollen to pet dander, allergies can range from a minor aggravation to a daily struggle that impacts your quality of life. Itchy eyes and a runny nose are the symptoms people are most familiar with and can be the first sign that you’re dealing with allergies.
However, some will undergo enhanced symptoms such as loss of hearing, poor balance, and tinnitus. These symptoms are a side effect of added pressure in your inner and middle ear.
Why is Your Hearing Affected by Allergies?
When your body senses an environmental allergen it responds by discharging a chemical called histamine. The familiar itchy eyes and runny nose are the outcomes of this release. Fluid buildup in the inner ear is a less known symptom. The fluid stops the allergen from getting deeper into your ear canal. The resulting pressure can result in problems with your equilibrium leading to a clogged ear, trouble hearing, and balance issues.
Treatment Solutions For Hearing Loss Caused by Allergies
There are lots of ways to treat the symptoms of allergies. The majority of people begin with over-the-counter products such as Claritin, Zyrtec, and Allegra. These medicines are used to manage mild cases and can start working in as little as one dose with the maximum effect appearing after a few days of use. Long term use of these medicines is also safe. Others, such as Benadryl, Sudafed, and Afrin, can be used short term for relief, but are not recommended for long term use as they can result in unwanted side effects.
There are also natural solutions that can be utilized by themselves or in combination with over-the-counter remedies. Saline solutions or a Neti pot are some examples. In some cases, even an ordinary hot shower can lead to improvement, especially when combined with a vapor tablet. 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 two weeks. If you have pets and have trouble with pet dander, make sure you bathe your pet regularly.
Already Tried All That?
Over-the-counter and natural remedies might not work in some circumstances. When none of these solutions help over the course of several weeks professional assistance might be required. An allergist will decide if you are a good candidate for allergy shots. These shots will be delivered in slowly increasing doses once a week for up to six months before switching to a shot once a month. These shots work by introducing a small bit of allergen into your system which allows your body to learn how to cope with it. Even though it only takes about eight months for patients to feel some relief, this therapy will require a long term commitment of as much as five years.
If you still have pressure in your ears and none of these approaches help, it’s time to have a hearing exam.