The entire year is allergy season in some places. Allergies can range from mild to extreme and can be triggered by everything from pollen to pet dander. Itchy eyes and a runny nose are the symptoms that are most familiar and can be the first sign that you’re experiencing allergies.
But more advanced symptoms, like tinnitus, poor balance, and hearing loss often occur. These symptoms happen because of increased pressure in your inner and middle ear.
Why is Your Hearing Affected by Allergies?
Your body releases a chemical called histamine when it senses an environmental allergen. This release results in the familiar sniffles and itchy eye symptoms of allergies. Fluid accumulation in the inner ear is a less known symptom. The fluid stops the allergen from going 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 disrupted.
Treatment Solutions For Hearing Loss Caused by Allergies
There are numerous ways to deal with the symptoms of allergies. Over-the-counter medications such as Claritin, Zyrtec, and Allegra are normally the first solution. Mild cases can be successfully treated within a couple of days and initial relief usually starts after the first dose. Extended use of these products is also safe. Others, such as Benadryl, Sudafed, and Afrin, can be used short term for relief, but are not advised for long term use as they can lead to unwanted side effects.
There are also natural solutions that can be used by themselves or in combination with over-the-counter medications. These include a Neti pot or saline sprays. In some situations, even a simple hot shower can lead to improvement, especially when paired with a vapor tablet. Environmental changes, like regularly washing fabrics in hot water, using a damp cloth to minimize dust on surfaces, and running an air purifier can also significantly help. Be sure you give your pets a bath routinely if you have any and try to feed them dander control pet food if you’re allergic to them.
Already Tried All That?
Over-the-counter and natural remedies may not work in some cases. If you’ve tried these methods over the course of several weeks and you’re not experiencing any relief it could be time to get professional advice. An allergist will decide if you are a good candidate for allergy shots. These shots will be given in slowly increasing doses once a week for up to six months before switching to a monthly shot. Small amounts of the allergen will be released into your system letting your body gradually learn how to manage it. Although 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 none of the above approaches 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 checked.