Depending on where you’re located, all year can be allergy season. Allergies can range from mild to severe and can be brought on by everything from pollen to pet dander. The first and most familiar signs that you are dealing with allergies are commonly itchy eyes and a runny nose.
But more advanced symptoms, including tinnitus, poor balance, and hearing loss sometimes occur. Increased pressure in the inner and middle ear is the reason for these symptoms.
Why is Your Hearing Affected by Allergies?
Your body produces a chemical called histamine when it senses an environmental allergen. The familiar itchy eyes and runny nose are the result of this release. One less common symptom is fluid build up in your inner and middle ear. The fluid stops the allergen from getting further into your ear canal. The resulting pressure can result in problems with your equilibrium leading to a clogged ear, trouble hearing, and balance issues.
Treatment For Hearing Loss Caused by Allergies
Allergies can be treated in many different ways. Over-the-counter medications such as Claritin, Zyrtec, and Allegra are generally the first options. These products are used to treat minor cases and can begin working in as little as one dose with the maximum effect manifesting after a few days of use. Long term use of these medicines is also safe. Others, like Benadryl, Sudafed, and Afrin, can be used short term for relief, but are not advised for extended use because they can lead to unwanted side effects.
You can also combine over-the-counter medications with natural solutions or the natural options can sometimes even be utilized by themselves. These include saline sprays or a Neti pot. A vapor tablet, in certain situations, when used in a hot shower can be very helpful also. Environmental changes, like regularly washing fabrics in hot water, using a damp cloth to minimize dust on surfaces, and running an air purifier can also significantly help. If you have pets and struggle with pet dander, be sure to bathe your pet regularly.
If None of These Help
For some individuals over-the-counter and natural solutions won’t be enough. When none of these approaches help over the course of several weeks professional assistance may be needed. An allergist will figure out if you are a good candidate for allergy shots. Every week for about six months a shot will be given in increasing doses then the shots will be reduced to once a month. These shots work by releasing a small amount of allergen into your system which allows your body to learn how to cope 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 none of the above methods provides relief, and you’ve made certain the pressure in your ears isn’t due to an ear infection, then it is time to get your hearing tested.