All year is allergy season in some places. Allergies can range from mild to extreme and can be triggered by anything from pet dander to pollen. The first and most common indications that you are suffering from allergies are normally itchy eyes and a runny nose.
However, some will undergo advanced symptoms such as hearing loss, poor balance, and tinnitus. Increased pressure in the middle and inner ear are responsible for these symptoms.
Why is Your Hearing Impacted by Allergies?
Your body produces a chemical called histamine when it detects an environmental allergen. This release causes the familiar sniffles and itchy eye symptoms of allergies. Fluid accumulation in the inner ear is a less known symptom. The fluid blocks the allergen from going further into your ear canal. The resulting pressure can result in problems with your equilibrium leading to a blocked ear, difficulty hearing, and balance issues.
How to Manage This Allergy-Related Hearing Loss
Allergies can be treated in several different ways. Most people start with over-the-counter products such as Zyrtec, Claritin, and Allegra. Mild cases can be effectively treated within a couple of days and initial relief usually starts after the first dose. Extended use of these medicines is also safe. Others, like Benadryl, Sudafed, and Afrin, can be used short term for relief, but are not recommended for extended use as they can result in undesirable side effects.
You can also combine over-the-counter medications with natural remedies 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 situations, when used in a hot shower can be very helpful as well. Environmental changes, including routinely washing fabrics with hot water, using a damp cloth to reduce dust on surfaces, and using an air purifier can also go a long way. If you have pets and struggle with pet dander, be sure to give your pets a bath regularly.
If None of These Works
For some people over-the-counter and natural solutions won’t be enough. If you’ve tried these solutions over the course of a few weeks and you aren’t experiencing any relief it might be time to seek professional advice. An allergist will figure out if you are a good fit 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 released into your system letting your body gradually learn how to manage it. This approach does demand a long-term commitment of up to five years, however, patients tend to feel relief starting at around eight months.
If none of the above methods deliver 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 tested.