Depending on where you live, allergy season can be all year long. From pollen to pet dander, allergies can range from a slight annoyance to a daily battle that affects your quality of life. The first and most common indications that you are dealing with allergies are usually itchy eyes and a runny nose.
But some will experience enhanced symptoms like loss of hearing, poor balance, and tinnitus. Added pressure in the middle and inner ear are responsible for these symptoms.
Why do Allergies Impair Your Hearing?
Your body releases a chemical called histamine when it senses an environmental allergen. This release causes the familiar sniffles and itchy eye symptoms of allergies. Fluid accumulation in the inner ear is a less common symptom. This is how your body stops the allergen from working its way deeper into your ear canal. The resulting pressure can cause issues with your equilibrium leading to a clogged ear, difficulty hearing, and balance issues.
Treatment Solutions For Hearing Loss Caused by Allergies
There are many ways to manage the symptoms of allergies. The majority of people start with over-the-counter medicines like Claritin, Zyrtec, and Allegra. These medicines are used to manage minor conditions and can start working in as little as one dose with the full effect appearing after a few days of use. These products are also safe for extended long term use if necessary. Others, such as Benadryl, Sudafed, and Afrin, can be used temporarily for relief, but are not recommended for long term use because they can cause unwanted side effects.
There are also natural solutions that can be utilized on their own or in combination with over-the-counter medications. Saline solutions or a Neti pot are some examples. In some situations, even a simple hot shower can lead to improvement, particularly when paired with a vapor tablet. Environmental changes, including regularly washing fabrics in hot water, using a damp cloth to minimize dust on surfaces, and using an air purifier can also significantly help. Make sure you bathe your pets routinely if you have any and try to feed them dander control pet food if you’re allergic to them.
Already Tried All That?
For some individuals over-the-counter and natural treatments won’t be enough. When none of these approaches help over the course of several weeks professional help may be required. An allergist will decide if you are a good fit for allergy shots. These shots will be given in slowly increasing doses once a week for up to six months before switching to a monthly shot. Small amounts of the allergen will be released into your system letting your body progressively learn how to manage it. This treatment does demand a long-term commitment of up to five years, however, patients often experience relief starting at about eight months.
If none of the above methods provides relief, and you’ve made sure the pressure in your ears isn’t caused by an ear infection, then it is time to get your hearing tested.