The entire year is allergy season in some places. From pollen to pet dander, allergies can range from a small 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.
However, some will undergo advanced symptoms such as loss of hearing, bad balance, and tinnitus. Increased pressure in the inner and middle ear is the reason for these symptoms.
Why do Allergies Impair Your Hearing?
When your body senses an environmental allergen it responds by discharging a chemical called histamine. The common runny nose and itchy eyes are the outcomes of this release. Fluid buildup 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. This fluid produces pressure that can lead to tinnitus, problems hearing, and even loss of balance as your equilibrium is disrupted.
Treatment For Hearing Loss Caused by Allergies
Allergies can be managed in many different ways. Most people start with over-the-counter medicines like Claritin, Zyrtec, and Allegra. These products are used to manage minor conditions and can start working in as little as one dose with the full effect manifesting after a few days of use. Extended use of these products is also safe. Others, like Benadryl, Sudafed, and Afrin, can be used temporarily for relief, but are not recommended for continuous use because they can lead to unwanted side effects.
There are also natural approaches that can be used by themselves or combined with over-the-counter medications. 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 also. Environmental changes, such as regularly washing fabrics with hot water, using a damp cloth to minimize dust on surfaces, and using an air purifier can also go a long way. If you have pets and have a problem with pet dander, be sure to give your pets a bath frequently.
Already Tried All That?
Over-the-counter and natural treatments might not work in some situations. If you’ve tried these solutions over the course of a few weeks and you’re not experiencing any relief it may be time to seek professional assistance. An allergist will decide 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. Small amounts of the allergen will be introduced into your system letting your body progressively learn how to handle it. This approach does demand a long-term commitment of up to five years, however, patients often experience relief starting at around eight months.
If none of the above strategies provides relief, and you’ve made certain the pressure in your ears isn’t caused by an ear infection, then it is time to get your hearing tested.