All year is allergy season in some places. From pollen to pet dander, allergies can range from a minor inconvenience to a daily battle that affects your quality of life. Runny nose and itchy eyes are the symptoms people are most familiar with and can be the first sign that you’re experiencing allergies.
But some will experience enhanced symptoms such as hearing loss, poor balance, and tinnitus. Added pressure in the inner and middle ear are responsible for these symptoms.
Why is Your Hearing Affected by Allergies?
When your body detects an environmental allergen it reacts by releasing a chemical called histamine. The common itchy eyes and runny nose are the result of this release. Fluid buildup in the inner ear is a less common symptom. The fluid stops the allergen from going deeper into your ear canal. This fluid creates pressure that can trigger tinnitus, problems hearing, and even loss of balance as your equilibrium is affected.
Treatment For Hearing Loss Caused by Allergies
There are lots of ways to treat the symptoms of allergies. Over-the-counter medications like Claritin, Zyrtec, and Allegra are generally the first solution. These products are used to treat mild conditions and can begin working in as little as one dose with the maximum effect manifesting after a few days of use. These products are also safe for prolonged long term use if need be. Others, like Benadryl, Sudafed, and Afrin, can be used short term for relief, but are not recommended for long term use because they can lead to unwanted side effects.
You can also combine over-the-counter medications with natural treatments or the natural remedies can in some cases even be utilized by themselves. These include a Neti pot or saline sprays. A vapor tablet, in some situations, when used in a hot shower can be really helpful also. You can also take steps to change your environment including purchasing an air purifier, wiping dust off surfaces with a damp cloth, and washing your fabrics with hot water every two weeks. If you have pets and have trouble with pet dander, make sure you bathe your pet regularly.
If None of These Help
Over-the-counter and natural remedies may not work in some situations. If you’ve tried these approaches over the course of a few weeks and you’re not experiencing any relief it may be time to seek professional assistance. An allergist will figure out if you are a good candidate for allergy shots. These shots will be delivered in slowly increasing doses once a week for up to six months before transitioning to a monthly shot. These shots work by introducing a small bit of allergen into your system which allows your body to learn how to cope with it. Though it only takes about eight months for patients to feel some relief, this treatment will require a long term commitment of as much as five years.
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 get your hearing checked.