Depending on where you’re located, all year can be allergy season. From pet dander to pollen, allergies can range from a slight aggravation 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 indication that you’re suffering from allergies.
But some will experience enhanced symptoms like loss of hearing, poor balance, and tinnitus. Increased pressure in the middle and inner ear is the reason for these symptoms.
Why is Your Hearing Affected by Allergies?
Your body releases a chemical called histamine when it senses an environmental allergen. This release results in the familiar sniffles and itchy eye symptoms of allergies. One less common symptom is the buildup of fluid in your inner and middle ear. The fluid stops the allergen from going further into your ear canal. This fluid causes pressure that can trigger tinnitus, problems hearing, and even loss of balance as your equilibrium is disrupted.
Treatment For Hearing Loss Caused by Allergies
There are lots of ways to deal with the symptoms of allergies. Most people start with over-the-counter medicines like Claritin, Zyrtec, and Allegra. These products are used to manage mild conditions and can start working in as little as one dose with the maximum effect manifesting after a few days of use. Extended use of these medicines is also safe. Other allergy medication can be used temporarily but aren’t recommended as a long term strategy because of their possible side effects, these medications include Sudafed, Afrin, and Benadryl.
There are also natural solutions that can be used on their own or combined with over-the-counter remedies. These include a Neti pot or saline sprays. In some cases, even a simple hot shower can lead to improvement, especially when combined with a vapor tablet. Environmental changes, including regularly washing fabrics in hot water, using a damp cloth to minimize dust on surfaces, and using an air purifier can also significantly help. 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.
Already Tried All That?
Over-the-counter and natural treatments might not work in some cases. When none of these solutions help over the course of a few weeks professional help may be needed. An allergist will determine 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 transitioning to a shot once a month. Small amounts of the allergen will be released into your system allowing your body to progressively learn how to handle it. This approach does demand a long-term commitment of up to five years, however, patients tend to experience relief beginning at about eight months.
If you still have pressure in your ears and none of these methods help, it’s time to get a hearing exam.