All year is allergy season in some locations. From pollen to pet dander, allergies can range from a small aggravation to a daily battle that impacts your quality of life. The first and most familiar signs that you are dealing with allergies are normally itchy eyes and a runny nose.
However, some will undergo enhanced symptoms such as loss of hearing, poor balance, and tinnitus. These symptoms are a side effect of added pressure in your inner and middle ear.
Why is Your Hearing Affected by Allergies?
Your body releases a chemical called histamine when it detects an environmental allergen. This release results in the familiar itchy eye symptoms and sniffles of allergies. One less common symptom is the buildup of fluid in your middle and inner ear. This is how your body stops the allergen from getting deeper 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 like Zyrtec, Claritin, and Allegra. These medicines are used to manage mild cases and can begin working in as little as one dose with the maximum effect appearing after a few days of use. These products are also safe for extended long term use if needed. Others, like Benadryl, Sudafed, and Afrin, can be used temporarily for relief, but are not recommended for extended use as they can cause unwanted side effects.
You can also combine over-the-counter medications with natural solutions or the natural remedies can sometimes even be utilized by themselves. These include a Neti pot or saline sprays. In certain cases, even a simple hot shower can lead to improvement, particularly when combined with a vapor tablet. You can also make changes to your environment such as purchasing an air purifier, wiping dust off surfaces with a damp cloth, and washing your fabrics in hot water every two weeks. If you have pets and have trouble with pet dander, make sure you bathe your pet regularly.
Already Tried All That?
For some individuals over-the-counter and natural treatments won’t be sufficient. When none of these methods help over the course of a few weeks professional help may be required. To find out if you require an allergy shot, you will need to go see an allergist. Every week for about six months a shot will be given in increasing dosages then the shots will be reduced to once a month. Small amounts of the allergen will be introduced into your system letting your body gradually learn how to deal with it. Even though it only takes about eight months for patients to feel some relief, this therapy will require 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 have your hearing checked.