All year is allergy season in some places. Allergies can range from minimal to acute and can be caused by everything from pollen to pet dander. The first and most familiar signs that you are suffering from allergies are normally itchy eyes and a runny nose.
But more pronounced 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 Affected by Allergies?
When your body detects an environmental allergen it reacts by expelling a chemical called histamine. This release leads to the familiar sniffles and itchy eye symptoms of allergies. One less prevalent symptom is the buildup of fluid in your middle and inner ear. This is how your body stops the allergen from getting deeper into your ear canal. This fluid causes pressure that can trigger tinnitus, trouble hearing, and even loss of balance as your equilibrium is affected.
How to Manage This Allergy-Related Hearing Loss
There are lots of ways to deal with the symptoms of allergies. Over-the-counter medications like Zyrtec, Claritin, and Allegra are normally the first options. Minor cases can be successfully treated within a couple of days and initial relief usually starts after the first dose. Extended use of these medicines is also safe. Other allergy medication can be used short term but aren’t recommended as a long term strategy because of their potential side effects, these medications include Sudafed, Afrin, and Benadryl.
There are also natural solutions that can be utilized on their own or combined with over-the-counter medications. These include a Neti pot or saline sprays. A vapor tablet, in certain situations, when used in a hot shower can be very helpful as well. You can also make changes to your environment like getting an air purifier, wiping 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, make sure you give your pets a bath regularly.
If None of These Help
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. An allergist will figure out if you are a good fit for allergy shots. These shots will be delivered in slowly increasing dosages once a week for up to six months before transitioning to a shot once a month. Small amounts of the allergen will be released into your system allowing your body to progressively learn how to handle it. Although it only takes about eight months for patients to experience some relief, this treatment will demand 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 caused by an ear infection, then it is time to get your hearing tested.