Depending on where you live, all year can be allergy season. Allergies can range from minor to acute and can be triggered by everything from pet dander to pollen. The first and most familiar indications that you are dealing with allergies are usually itchy eyes and a runny nose.
However, some will undergo advanced symptoms such as hearing loss, poor balance, and tinnitus. Added pressure in the middle and inner ear are responsible for these symptoms.
Why do Allergies Impact Your Hearing?
Your body produces a chemical called histamine when it senses an environmental allergen. The common runny nose and itchy eyes are the outcomes of this release. One less common symptom is fluid build up in your middle and inner ear. This is how your body stops the allergen from getting deeper into your ear canal. This fluid creates pressure that can lead to tinnitus, problems hearing, and even loss of balance as your equilibrium is disrupted.
How to Treat This Allergy-Related Hearing Loss
There are numerous ways to manage the symptoms of allergies. Over-the-counter medications such as Zyrtec, Claritin, and Allegra are usually the first options. 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. Long term use of these medicines is also safe. Others, like Benadryl, Sudafed, and Afrin, can be used short term for relief, but are not suggested for extended use as they can lead to undesirable side effects.
You can also combine over-the-counter medications with natural solutions or the natural options can sometimes even be utilized by themselves. These include saline sprays or a Neti pot. In some situations, even an ordinary hot shower can lead to improvement, especially when combined with a vapor tablet. Environmental changes, including regularly washing fabrics with hot water, using a damp cloth to reduce dust on surfaces, and running an air purifier can also go a long way. If you have pets and struggle with pet dander, make sure you give your pets a bath frequently.
Already Tried All That?
Over-the-counter and natural treatments may not work in some circumstances. When none of these solutions help over the course of a few weeks professional help may be required. To find out if you require an allergy shot, you will have to consult an allergist. These shots will be delivered in slowly increasing doses once a week for up to six months before switching to a monthly shot. Small amounts of the allergen will be introduced into your system letting your body slowly learn how to manage it. Although it only takes about eight months for patients to experience some relief, this treatment will require a long term commitment of up to five years.
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 checked.