Depending on where you’re located, allergy season can be all year long. Allergies can range from minor to acute and can be caused by anything from pollen to pet dander. The first and most familiar signs that you are suffering from allergies are usually a runny nose and itchy eyes.
But some will experience enhanced symptoms such as loss of hearing, poor balance, and tinnitus. Added pressure in the inner and middle ear are responsible for these symptoms.
Why do Allergies Affect Your Hearing?
When your body senses an environmental allergen it responds by releasing a chemical called histamine. The common itchy eyes and runny nose are the outcomes of this release. Fluid buildup in the inner ear is a less known symptom. The fluid blocks the allergen from getting further into your ear canal. The resulting pressure can cause problems with your equilibrium leading to a clogged ear, trouble hearing, and balance issues.
Treatment For Hearing Loss Caused by Allergies
There are lots of ways to manage the symptoms of allergies. Over-the-counter medications like Zyrtec, Claritin, and Allegra are usually the first solution. These medicines are used to manage minor conditions and can start working in as little as one dose with the full effect manifesting after a few days of use. These products are also safe for continued long term use if necessary. Others, such as Benadryl, Sudafed, and Afrin, can be used short term for relief, but are not advised for extended use as they can lead to undesirable side effects.
There are also natural solutions that can be utilized on their own or combined with over-the-counter medications. Saline solutions or a Neti pot are some examples. In some cases, even a simple hot shower can lead to improvement, especially when combined with a vapor tablet. You can also make changes to your environment like purchasing an air purifier, wiping dust off surfaces with a damp cloth, and washing your fabrics in hot water every couple of weeks. Make sure you bathe your pets regularly if you have any and try to feed them dander control pet food if you’re allergic to them.
If None of These Help
Over-the-counter and natural treatments may not work in some situations. When none of these approaches help over the course of a few weeks professional assistance may be required. An allergist will determine 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. These shots work by introducing a small bit of allergen into your system which enables your body to learn how to deal with it. Although it only takes around eight months for patients to experience some relief, this therapy will require a long term commitment of up to five years.
If none of the above approaches provides 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 tested.