Depending on where you’re located, all year can be allergy season. Allergies can range from minimal to severe and can be brought on by everything from pet dander to pollen. The first and most familiar indications that you are suffering from allergies are commonly a runny nose and itchy eyes.
But more advanced symptoms, such as tinnitus, bad balance, and hearing loss often occur. Increased 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 responds by expelling a chemical called histamine. This release results in the familiar itchy eye symptoms and sniffles of allergies. Fluid accumulation in the inner ear is a less common symptom. The fluid blocks the allergen from getting deeper into your ear canal. This fluid creates pressure that can lead to 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. Over-the-counter medications such as Claritin, Zyrtec, and Allegra are typically the first solution. These products are used to manage minor conditions and can begin working in as little as one dose with the maximum effect appearing after a few days of use. These products are also safe for continued long term use if need be. Other allergy medication can be used short term but aren’t suggested as a long term strategy because of their potential side effects, these medications include Sudafed, Afrin, and Benadryl.
There are also natural solutions that can be utilized by themselves or combined with over-the-counter medications. 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. You can also make changes to your environment including purchasing an air purifier, wiping dust off surfaces with a damp cloth, and washing your fabrics in hot water every two weeks. 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 people over-the-counter and natural solutions won’t be enough. When none of these methods help over the course of a few weeks professional assistance may be required. An allergist will decide if you are a good candidate for allergy shots. These shots will be delivered in slowly increasing dosages once a week for up to six months before transitioning to a shot once a month. These shots work by introducing a small bit of allergen into your system which allows your body to learn how to deal with it. This therapy does require a long-term commitment of up to five years, although, patients tend to experience relief beginning at about eight months.
If you still have pressure in your ears and none of these strategies help, it’s time to get a hearing exam.