The entire year is allergy season in some locations. From pet dander to pollen, allergies can range from a minor inconvenience to a daily battle that affects your quality of life. The first and most common indications that you are suffering from allergies are commonly a runny nose and itchy eyes.
But more advanced symptoms, such as poor balance, tinnitus, and hearing loss sometimes occur. These symptoms are a side effect of added pressure in your inner and middle ear.
Why is Your Hearing Impacted by Allergies?
Your body releases a chemical called histamine when it senses an environmental allergen. This release results in the familiar sniffles and itchy eye symptoms of allergies. One less prevalent symptom is the buildup of fluid in your inner and middle ear. The fluid stops the allergen from going deeper into your ear canal. The resulting pressure can result in issues with your equilibrium leading to a blocked ear, difficulty hearing, and balance issues.
How to Treat This Allergy-Related Hearing Loss
Allergies can be managed in many different ways. The majority of people begin with over-the-counter products like Zyrtec, Claritin, and Allegra. Mild cases can be successfully managed within a couple of days and initial relief usually begins after the first dose. Long term use of these medicines is also safe. Others, like Benadryl, Sudafed, and Afrin, can be used temporarily for relief, but are not suggested for continuous use as they can lead to unwanted side effects.
You can also combine over-the-counter medications with natural solutions or the natural remedies can sometimes even be used by themselves. Saline solutions or a Neti pot are some examples. In certain situations, even an ordinary hot shower can lead to improvement, particularly when paired with a vapor tablet. You can also take steps to change your environment including buying an air purifier, cleaning dust off surfaces with a damp cloth, and washing your fabrics in hot water every couple of weeks. Be sure you give your pets a bath frequently if you have any and try to feed them dander control pet food if you’re allergic to them.
When Nothing Else Works
Over-the-counter and natural solutions may not work in some circumstances. If you’ve tried these methods over the course of a few weeks and you aren’t having any relief it might be time to seek professional advice. To find out if you need 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 reduced to one every month. Small amounts of the allergen will be released into your system letting your body progressively learn how to handle it. This approach does require a long-term commitment of up to five years, however, patients tend to experience relief starting at about eight months.
If you still have pressure in your ears and none of these methods help, it’s time to get a hearing exam.