Depending on where you’re located, allergy season can be all year long. Allergies can range from minimal to severe and can be caused by anything from pollen to pet dander. The first and most familiar indications that you are dealing with allergies are normally a runny nose and itchy eyes.
However, some will undergo enhanced symptoms like hearing loss, poor balance, and tinnitus. Increased pressure in the inner and middle ear is the reason for these symptoms.
Why is Your Hearing Impacted by Allergies?
Your body produces a chemical called histamine when it detects an environmental allergen. The familiar runny nose and itchy eyes are the outcomes of this release. Fluid buildup in the inner ear is a less common symptom. The fluid blocks the allergen from getting further into your ear canal. The resulting pressure can cause issues with your equilibrium leading to a blocked ear, difficulty hearing, and balance issues.
How to Manage This Allergy-Related Hearing Loss
Allergies can be managed in many different ways. The majority of people begin with over-the-counter products like Zyrtec, Claritin, and Allegra. Minor cases can be successfully managed within a couple of days and initial relief normally starts after the first dose. Extended use of these medicines is also safe. Others, such as Benadryl, Sudafed, and Afrin, can be used temporarily for relief, but are not suggested for extended use because they can cause unwanted side effects.
There are also natural solutions that can be utilized on their own or in combination with over-the-counter medications. These include saline sprays or a Neti pot. In some cases, even an ordinary hot shower can lead to improvement, particularly when combined with a vapor tablet. Environmental changes, including routinely washing fabrics in hot water, using a damp cloth to minimize dust on surfaces, and running an air purifier can also significantly help. Make sure you bathe your pets 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 individuals over-the-counter and natural solutions won’t be sufficient. If you’ve tried these methods over the course of several weeks and you aren’t having any relief it could be time to get professional assistance. An allergist will figure out if you are a good candidate for allergy shots. Every week for around six months a shot will be given in increasing dosages then the shots will be decreased to one every month. Small amounts of the allergen will be introduced into your system allowing your body to slowly learn how to deal with it. This treatment does require a long-term commitment of up to five years, however, patients often experience relief starting at around eight months.
If none of the above strategies 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 tested.