The entire year is allergy season in some locations. Allergies can range from mild to extreme and can be caused by everything from pet dander to pollen. Runny nose and itchy eyes are the symptoms that are most familiar and can be the first sign that you’re dealing with allergies.
But some will experience advanced symptoms like loss of hearing, bad balance, and tinnitus. Added pressure in the middle and inner ear are responsible for these symptoms.
Why is Your Hearing Impacted by Allergies?
When your body detects an environmental allergen it reacts by discharging a chemical called histamine. This release causes the familiar itchy eye symptoms and sniffles of allergies. One less prevalent symptom is fluid build up in your inner and middle ear. The fluid blocks the allergen from getting deeper into your ear canal. This fluid causes pressure that can trigger tinnitus, trouble hearing, and even loss of balance as your equilibrium is affected.
How to Treat This Allergy-Related Hearing Loss
There are lots of ways to deal with the symptoms of allergies. Most people begin with over-the-counter medicines like Zyrtec, Claritin, and Allegra. These medicines are used to manage mild conditions and can begin working in as little as one dose with the maximum effect appearing after a few days of use. These products are also safe for continued long term use if necessary. Other allergy medication can be used temporarily but aren’t recommended as a long term solution because of their possible side effects, these medications include Sudafed, Afrin, and Benadryl.
You can also combine over-the-counter medications with natural remedies or the natural remedies can sometimes even be used by themselves. These include saline sprays or a Neti pot. In some cases, even a simple hot shower can lead to improvement, particularly when combined with a vapor tablet. Environmental changes, like routinely washing fabrics with hot water, using a damp cloth to reduce dust on surfaces, and using an air purifier can also significantly help. If you have pets and have trouble with pet dander, be sure to give your pets a bath regularly.
If None of These Help
Over-the-counter and natural remedies might not work in some circumstances. When none of these methods help over the course of several weeks professional help might be needed. To figure out if you require an allergy shot, you will have to go see an allergist. These shots will be given in slowly increasing doses once a week for up to six months before changing 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 deal with it. Although it only takes around eight months for patients to experience some relief, this treatment will demand a long term commitment of up to five years.
If you still have pressure in your ears and none of these strategies help, it’s time to have a hearing exam.