Depending on where you’re located, all year can be allergy season. Allergies can range from minor to severe and can be triggered by anything from pollen to pet dander. The first and most familiar signs that you are suffering from allergies are usually itchy eyes and a runny nose.
However, some will undergo advanced symptoms such as loss of hearing, bad balance, and tinnitus. These symptoms occur because of increased pressure in your inner and middle ear.
Why is Your Hearing Impacted by Allergies?
When your body senses an environmental allergen it responds by expelling a chemical called histamine. This release leads to the familiar itchy eye symptoms and sniffles of allergies. One less prevalent symptom is the buildup of fluid in your inner and middle ear. The fluid blocks the allergen from going further into your ear canal. This fluid causes pressure that can lead to tinnitus, trouble hearing, and even loss of balance as your equilibrium is affected.
How to Treat This Allergy-Related Hearing Loss
Allergies can be managed in several different ways. Over-the-counter medications such as Zyrtec, Claritin, and Allegra are normally the first options. These medicines are used to treat minor cases and can begin working in as little as one dose with the maximum effect appearing after a few days of use. Long term use of these medicines is also safe. Other allergy medication can be used temporarily but aren’t suggested as a long term strategy because of their potential side effects, these medications include Sudafed, Afrin, and Benadryl.
You can also combine over-the-counter medications with natural treatments or the natural options can in some cases even be utilized by themselves. A Neti pot or saline solutions are some examples. A vapor tablet, in some scenarios, when used in a hot shower can be really helpful as well. You can also take steps to change your environment such as getting an air purifier, wiping dust off surfaces with a damp cloth, and washing your fabrics with hot water every two weeks. Make 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.
When Nothing Else Works
Over-the-counter and natural solutions might not work in some situations. When none of these methods help over the course of several weeks professional help may be required. To figure out if you require an allergy shot, you will need to go see an allergist. These shots will be delivered in slowly increasing dosages once a week for up to six months before changing to a monthly shot. These shots work by releasing a small amount of allergen into your system which enables your body to learn how to deal with it. This therapy does require a long-term commitment of up to five years, although, patients often experience relief beginning at around eight months.
If none of the above strategies provides relief, and you’ve made sure the pressure in your ears isn’t due to an ear infection, then it is time to get your hearing checked.