All year is allergy season in some locations. Allergies can range from minor to extreme and can be brought on by anything from pet dander to pollen. Itchy eyes and a runny nose are the symptoms people are most familiar with and can be the first indication that you’re suffering from allergies.
However, some will experience enhanced symptoms such as loss of hearing, bad balance, and tinnitus. These symptoms happen because of increased pressure in your inner and middle ear.
Why do Allergies Affect Your Hearing?
Your body produces a chemical called histamine when it senses an environmental allergen. This release causes the familiar sniffles and itchy eye symptoms of allergies. One less common symptom is the buildup of fluid in your inner and middle ear. This is how your body stops the allergen from working its way deeper into your ear canal. This fluid causes pressure that can trigger tinnitus, trouble hearing, and even loss of balance as your equilibrium is disrupted.
Treatment For Hearing Loss Caused by Allergies
Allergies can be treated in many different ways. The majority of people begin with over-the-counter products such as Zyrtec, Claritin, and Allegra. Minor cases can be successfully treated within a couple of days and initial relief usually begins after the first dose. These products are also safe for prolonged long term use if needed. Others, like Benadryl, Sudafed, and Afrin, can be used temporarily for relief, but are not advised for continuous use as they can result in unwanted side effects.
You can also combine over-the-counter medications with natural solutions or the natural remedies can in some cases even be used by themselves. These include saline sprays or a Neti pot. A vapor tablet, in some scenarios, when used in a hot shower can be very helpful also. You can also make changes to your environment like purchasing an air purifier, cleaning dust off surfaces with a damp cloth, and washing your fabrics in hot water every couple of weeks. If you have pets and have trouble with pet dander, be sure to give your pets a bath regularly.
If None of These Works
For some people over-the-counter and natural remedies won’t be enough. When none of these solutions help over the course of several weeks professional help might be needed. To figure out if you require an allergy shot, you will have to go see an allergist. These shots will be delivered in slowly increasing doses once a week for up to six months before switching to a monthly shot. These shots work by releasing a small amount of allergen into your system which enables your body to learn how to cope with it. Though it only takes around eight months for patients to feel some relief, this therapy will require a long term commitment of up to five years.
If you still have pressure in your ears and none of these methods help, it’s time to get a hearing exam.