Depending on where you’re located, allergy season can be all year long. Allergies can range from minor to extreme and can be caused by everything from pet dander to pollen. Runny nose and itchy eyes are the symptoms that are most familiar and can be the first sign that you’re experiencing allergies.
But some will experience enhanced symptoms like hearing loss, bad balance, and tinnitus. These symptoms happen because of increased pressure in your inner and middle ear.
Why do Allergies Impair Your Hearing?
Your body produces a chemical called histamine when it senses an environmental allergen. The familiar itchy eyes and runny nose are the result of this release. One less prevalent symptom is fluid build up in your inner and middle ear. The fluid stops the allergen from going further into your ear canal. This fluid causes pressure that can trigger tinnitus, trouble hearing, and even loss of balance as your equilibrium is affected.
Treatment For Hearing Loss Caused by Allergies
Allergies can be treated in many different ways. Most people start with over-the-counter medicines such as Zyrtec, Claritin, and Allegra. Mild cases can be effectively managed within a couple of days and initial relief usually begins after the first dose. Long term use of these products is also safe. 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 used on their own or combined with over-the-counter remedies. These include saline sprays or a Neti pot. In certain situations, even an ordinary hot shower can lead to improvement, particularly when paired with a vapor tablet. Environmental changes, such as regularly washing fabrics with hot water, using a damp cloth to reduce dust on surfaces, and using an air purifier can also significantly help. If you have pets and have trouble with pet dander, make sure you bathe your pet frequently.
If None of These Works
For some people over-the-counter and natural remedies won’t be enough. If you’ve tried these approaches over the course of several weeks and you aren’t experiencing any relief it may be time to get professional advice. An allergist will figure out if you are a good fit for allergy shots. These shots will be delivered in slowly increasing doses once a week for up to six months before changing to a monthly shot. These shots work by releasing a small bit of allergen into your system which enables your body to learn how to cope with it. This therapy does require a long-term commitment of up to five years, although, patients tend to feel relief beginning at around eight months.
If none of the above methods provides relief, and you’ve made certain the pressure in your ears isn’t due to an ear infection, then it is time to have your hearing checked.