Depending on where you’re located, all year can be allergy season. Allergies can range from mild to extreme and can be triggered by everything from pollen to pet dander. The first and most common indications that you are dealing with allergies are normally itchy eyes and a runny nose.
But some will experience advanced symptoms such as hearing loss, poor balance, and tinnitus. Added pressure in the middle and inner ear are responsible for these symptoms.
Why is Your Hearing Affected by Allergies?
When your body detects an environmental allergen it reacts by discharging a chemical called histamine. The familiar runny nose and itchy eyes are the outcomes of this release. Fluid buildup in the inner ear is a less known symptom. The fluid blocks the allergen from going deeper into your ear canal. The resulting pressure can result in issues with your equilibrium leading to a clogged ear, difficulty hearing, and balance issues.
How to Manage This Allergy-Related Hearing Loss
Allergies can be managed in several different ways. Over-the-counter medications such as Zyrtec, Claritin, and Allegra are generally the first solution. Mild cases can be successfully managed within a couple of days and initial relief typically begins after the first dose. Extended use of these medicines is also safe. Other allergy medication can be used temporarily but aren’t suggested as a long term solution because of their possible side effects, these medications include Sudafed, Afrin, and Benadryl.
You can also combine over-the-counter medications with natural remedies or the natural options can in some cases even be utilized by themselves. Saline solutions or a Neti pot are some examples. A vapor tablet, in some situations, when used in a hot shower can be really helpful also. Environmental changes, such as routinely washing fabrics with hot water, using a damp cloth to minimize dust on surfaces, and running 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.
When Nothing Else Helps
Over-the-counter and natural treatments may not work in some cases. When none of these approaches help over the course of a few weeks professional help may be required. An allergist will determine if you are a good candidate for allergy shots. Every week for about six months a shot will be given in increasing dosages then the shots will be reduced to once a month. These shots work by introducing a small bit of allergen into your system which enables your body to learn how to deal with it. This approach does require a long-term commitment of up to five years, although, patients often feel relief beginning at about eight months.
If none of the above approaches deliver relief, and you’ve made certain the pressure in your ears isn’t due to an ear infection, then it is time to get your hearing checked.