Depending on where you’re located, allergy season can be all year long. From pollen to pet dander, allergies can range from a minor annoyance to a daily struggle that impacts 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.
However, some will undergo advanced symptoms like loss of hearing, bad balance, and tinnitus. These symptoms are a side effect of increased pressure in your inner and middle ear.
Why is Your Hearing Affected by Allergies?
Your body produces a chemical called histamine when it senses an environmental allergen. The common runny nose and itchy eyes are the outcomes of this release. One less prevalent symptom is the buildup of fluid in your inner and middle ear. The fluid blocks the allergen from getting deeper into your ear canal. The resulting pressure can cause problems with your equilibrium leading to a clogged ear, trouble hearing, and balance issues.
How to Treat This Allergy-Related Hearing Loss
Allergies can be managed in many different ways. Most people start with over-the-counter medicines like Claritin, Zyrtec, and Allegra. These products are used to manage mild cases and can start working in as little as one dose with the full effect manifesting after a few days of use. Long term use of these medicines is also safe. Others, like Benadryl, Sudafed, and Afrin, can be used temporarily for relief, but are not recommended for long term use as they can cause unwanted side effects.
You can also combine over-the-counter medications with natural treatments or the natural remedies can sometimes even be used by themselves. A Neti pot or saline solutions are some examples. A vapor tablet, in some 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, cleaning dust off surfaces with a damp cloth, and washing your fabrics in hot water every two weeks. Be certain that you give your pets a bath regularly if you have any and try to feed them dander control pet food if you’re allergic to them.
Already Tried All That?
For some people over-the-counter and natural treatments won’t be sufficient. If you’ve tried these methods over the course of a few weeks and you’re not experiencing any relief it might be time to get professional help. To find out if you need an allergy shot, you will need to go see an allergist. Every week for around six months a shot will be given in increasing dosages then the shots will be reduced to once a month. These shots work by introducing a small amount of allergen into your system which allows your body to learn how to deal with it. This treatment does require a long-term commitment of up to five years, however, patients often feel relief starting at about eight months.
If you still have pressure in your ears and none of these methods help, it’s time to have a hearing test.