All year is allergy season in some places. From pet dander to pollen, allergies can range from a small inconvenience 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 such as hearing loss, bad balance, and tinnitus. Increased pressure in the middle and inner ear is the reason for these symptoms.
Why do Allergies Impair Your Hearing?
When your body detects an environmental allergen it responds by releasing a chemical called histamine. This release causes the familiar sniffles and itchy eye symptoms of allergies. Fluid accumulation in the inner ear is a less known symptom. This is how your body stops the allergen from getting deeper into your ear canal. The resulting pressure can cause issues with your equilibrium leading to a blocked ear, difficulty hearing, and balance issues.
Treatment Solutions For Hearing Loss Caused by Allergies
There are many ways to treat the symptoms of allergies. Over-the-counter medications such as Zyrtec, Claritin, and Allegra are typically the first solution. These medicines are used to manage mild cases and can start working in as little as one dose with the maximum effect manifesting after a few days of use. Long term use of these products is also safe. Other allergy medication can be used short term but aren’t suggested as a long term strategy because of their possible side effects, these medications include Sudafed, Afrin, and Benadryl.
There are also natural approaches that can be used on their own or combined with over-the-counter remedies. These include saline sprays or a Neti pot. A vapor tablet, in certain situations, when used in a hot shower can be very helpful as well. Environmental changes, such as routinely washing fabrics with hot water, using a damp cloth to reduce dust on surfaces, and running an air purifier can also go a long way. Be sure you give your pets a bath frequently if you have any and try to feed them dander control pet food if you’re allergic to them.
If None of These Help
For some individuals over-the-counter and natural remedies won’t be enough. If you’ve tried these approaches over the course of a few weeks and you’re not having any relief it might be time to get professional help. An allergist will figure out if you are a good fit for allergy shots. Every week for around six months a shot will be given in increasing doses then the shots will be decreased to once a month. Small amounts of the allergen will be introduced into your system letting your body slowly learn how to manage it. This approach does require a long-term commitment of up to five years, although, patients often experience relief beginning at around eight months.
If none of the above strategies deliver relief, and you’ve made certain the pressure in your ears isn’t caused by an ear infection, then it is time to have your hearing tested.