Depending on where you live, all year can be allergy season. From pollen to pet dander, allergies can vary from a slight annoyance to a daily battle that impacts your quality of life. Runny nose and itchy eyes are the symptoms that are most familiar and can be the first sign that you’re dealing with allergies.
But more advanced symptoms, such as poor balance, tinnitus, and hearing loss sometimes happen. These symptoms occur because of increased pressure in your inner and middle ear.
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 outcomes of this release. One less common symptom is the buildup of fluid in your inner and middle ear. This is how your body stops the allergen from getting deeper into your ear canal. The resulting pressure can result in issues with your equilibrium leading to a clogged ear, difficulty hearing, and balance issues.
How to Manage This Allergy-Related Hearing Loss
There are many ways to deal with the symptoms of allergies. The majority of people start with over-the-counter products such as Zyrtec, Claritin, and Allegra. These products are used to treat minor conditions and can start working in as little as one dose with the maximum effect manifesting after a few days of use. These products are also safe for continued long term use if needed. Others, like Benadryl, Sudafed, and Afrin, can be used temporarily for relief, but are not advised for long term use as they can cause undesirable side effects.
You can also combine over-the-counter medications with natural treatments or the natural options can in some cases even be used by themselves. A Neti pot or saline solutions are some examples. A vapor tablet, in certain scenarios, when used in a hot shower can be really helpful as well. You can also take steps to change your environment such as purchasing an air purifier, cleaning dust off surfaces with a damp cloth, and washing your fabrics in hot water every couple of weeks. If you have pets and have a problem with pet dander, be sure to give your pets a bath frequently.
Already Tried All That?
For some individuals over-the-counter and natural remedies won’t be enough. When none of these solutions help over the course of a few weeks professional assistance may be needed. To find out if you require an allergy shot, you will have to go see an allergist. Every week for about six months a shot will be given in increasing doses then the shots will be decreased to one every month. These shots work by releasing a small bit of allergen into your system which enables your body to learn how to cope with it. Even 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 you still have pressure in your ears and none of these methods help, it’s time to have a hearing exam.