The entire year is allergy season in some places. From pet dander to pollen, allergies can range from a small inconvenience to a daily battle that affects your quality of life. Itchy eyes and a runny nose are the symptoms people are most familiar with and can be the first sign that you’re suffering from allergies.
But some will experience enhanced symptoms like hearing loss, bad balance, and tinnitus. Increased pressure in the inner and middle ear is the reason for these symptoms.
Why is Your Hearing Affected by Allergies?
Your body produces a chemical called histamine when it senses an environmental allergen. This release leads to the familiar itchy eye symptoms and sniffles of allergies. One less prevalent symptom is the buildup of fluid in your middle and inner ear. The fluid stops the allergen from going deeper into your ear canal. This fluid creates pressure that can trigger tinnitus, trouble hearing, and even loss of balance as your equilibrium is affected.
Treatment Solutions For Hearing Loss Caused by Allergies
Allergies can be managed in several different ways. Most people start with over-the-counter medicines like Zyrtec, Claritin, and Allegra. Mild cases can be successfully treated within a couple of days and initial relief normally starts after the first dose. 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 suggested for long term use because they can cause unwanted side effects.
There are also natural solutions that can be used by themselves or combined with over-the-counter medications. A Neti pot or saline solutions are some examples. In some cases, even a simple hot shower can lead to improvement, especially when combined with a vapor tablet. You can also take steps to change your environment including getting an air purifier, cleaning dust off surfaces with a damp cloth, and washing your fabrics with hot water every couple of weeks. 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.
If None of These Help
Over-the-counter and natural treatments may not work in some circumstances. If you’ve tried these approaches over the course of several weeks and you’re not experiencing any relief it might be time to get professional advice. An allergist will figure out 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 switching to a monthly shot. These shots work by introducing a small amount of allergen into your system which allows your body to learn how to cope with it. Even though it only takes about eight months for patients to feel some relief, this therapy will demand a long term commitment of as much as five years.
If none of the above strategies provides relief, and you’ve made certain the pressure in your ears isn’t caused by an ear infection, then it is time to get your hearing checked.