All year is allergy season in some locations. Allergies can range from mild to extreme and can be brought on by everything from pet dander to pollen. Runny nose and itchy eyes are the symptoms people are most familiar with and can be the first sign that you’re suffering from allergies.
But more advanced symptoms, including poor balance, tinnitus, and hearing loss sometimes happen. Added pressure in the middle and inner ear are responsible for these symptoms.
Why is Your Hearing Affected by Allergies?
When your body detects an environmental allergen it responds by discharging a chemical called histamine. The familiar itchy eyes and runny nose are the result of this release. Fluid accumulation in the inner ear is a less common symptom. This is how your body stops the allergen from working its way deeper into your ear canal. The resulting pressure can result in issues with your equilibrium leading to a blocked ear, trouble hearing, and balance issues.
Treatment For Hearing Loss Caused by Allergies
Allergies can be treated in several different ways. The majority of people start with over-the-counter medicines like Zyrtec, Claritin, and Allegra. Mild cases can be successfully managed within a couple of days and initial relief typically starts after the first dose. Long term use of these products is also safe. Others, such as Benadryl, Sudafed, and Afrin, can be used short term for relief, but are not suggested for extended use because they can result in unwanted side effects.
There are also natural approaches that can be used on their own or in combination with over-the-counter medications. These include a Neti pot or saline sprays. 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 including buying an air purifier, cleaning dust off surfaces with a damp cloth, and washing your fabrics with hot water every couple of weeks. Make sure you give your pets a bath regularly if you have any and try to feed them dander control pet food if you’re allergic to them.
Already Tried All That?
For some people over-the-counter and natural treatments won’t be enough. When none of these approaches help over the course of several weeks professional help might be required. An allergist will figure out if you are a good fit for allergy shots. These shots will be given in slowly increasing doses once a week for up to six months before switching to a shot once a month. These shots work by introducing a small bit of allergen into your system which allows your body to learn how to cope with it. This treatment does require a long-term commitment of up to five years, although, patients often experience relief beginning at around eight months.
If you still have pressure in your ears and none of these strategies help, it’s time to get a hearing exam.