Depending on where you’re located, allergy season can be all year long. Allergies can range from minor to acute and can be brought on by anything from pet dander to pollen. The first and most common indications that you are suffering from allergies are commonly itchy eyes and a runny nose.
But more pronounced symptoms, including poor balance, tinnitus, and hearing loss often occur. Added pressure in the inner and middle ear are responsible for these symptoms.
Why is Your Hearing Affected by Allergies?
When your body senses an environmental allergen it reacts by expelling a chemical called histamine. The familiar itchy eyes and runny nose are the result of this release. One less common symptom is fluid build up in your inner and middle ear. The fluid stops the allergen from going further into your ear canal. The resulting pressure can cause problems with your equilibrium leading to a blocked ear, trouble hearing, and balance issues.
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 solution. Mild cases can be successfully managed within a couple of days and initial relief usually starts after the first dose. Long term use of these products is also safe. Others, like Benadryl, Sudafed, and Afrin, can be used temporarily for relief, but are not advised for long term use because they can result in undesirable side effects.
You can also combine over-the-counter medications with natural solutions or the natural options can in some cases even be utilized by themselves. A Neti pot or saline solutions are some examples. In certain cases, even an ordinary hot shower can lead to improvement, especially when paired with a vapor tablet. Environmental changes, like routinely washing fabrics with hot water, using a damp cloth to reduce dust on surfaces, and running an air purifier can also significantly help. If you have pets and struggle with pet dander, be sure to give your pets a bath regularly.
Already Tried All That?
Over-the-counter and natural treatments may not work in some cases. When none of these methods help over the course of a few weeks professional assistance 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 dosages once a week for up to six months before transitioning to a shot once a month. These shots work by introducing a small amount of allergen into your system which allows your body to learn how to deal with it. Although it only takes around eight months for patients to feel some relief, this therapy will require a long term commitment of as much as five years.
If none of the above approaches deliver relief, and you’ve made certain the pressure in your ears isn’t due to an ear infection, then it is time to get your hearing tested.