All year is allergy season in some locations. Allergies can range from mild to acute 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 a runny nose and itchy eyes.
But more advanced symptoms, like poor balance, tinnitus, and hearing loss often happen. These symptoms occur because of increased pressure in your inner and middle ear.
Why do Allergies Affect Your Hearing?
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. This is how your body stops the allergen from working its way deeper 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 Solutions For Hearing Loss Caused by Allergies
There are many ways to treat the symptoms of allergies. Over-the-counter medications such as Zyrtec, Claritin, and Allegra are generally the first solution. Minor cases can be successfully managed within a couple of days and initial relief typically begins after the first dose. Long term use of these medicines is also safe. Others, like Benadryl, Sudafed, and Afrin, can be used temporarily for relief, but are not advised for continuous use as they can lead to undesirable side effects.
You can also combine over-the-counter medications with natural remedies or the natural options can sometimes even be used by themselves. A Neti pot or saline solutions are some examples. A vapor tablet, in certain situations, when used in a hot shower can be really helpful as well. You can also make changes to 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. Be sure you give your pets a bath frequently 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 treatments may not work in some situations. When none of these methods help over the course of several weeks professional help might be required. An allergist will figure out if you are a good candidate for allergy shots. These shots will be delivered in slowly increasing doses once a week for up to six months before transitioning to a monthly shot. Small amounts of the allergen will be released into your system allowing your body to slowly learn how to handle it. Though it only takes around eight months for patients to feel 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 checked.