Depending on where you live, all year can be allergy season. From pollen to pet dander, allergies can range from a minor inconvenience to a daily struggle that impacts your quality of life. The first and most familiar indications that you are dealing with allergies are usually a runny nose and itchy eyes.
But some will undergo enhanced symptoms like loss of hearing, bad balance, and tinnitus. Added pressure in the inner and middle ear is the reason for these symptoms.
Why is Your Hearing Impacted by Allergies?
Your body produces a chemical called histamine when it senses an environmental allergen. This release results in the familiar itchy eye symptoms and sniffles of allergies. Fluid accumulation in the inner ear is a less known symptom. The fluid stops the allergen from getting further into your ear canal. This fluid causes pressure that can lead to tinnitus, problems hearing, and even loss of balance as your equilibrium is affected.
How to Treat This Allergy-Related Hearing Loss
Allergies can be treated in many different ways. The majority of people start with over-the-counter medicines such as Zyrtec, Claritin, and Allegra. Mild cases can be successfully treated within a couple of days and initial relief normally 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 extended use because they can result in undesirable side effects.
There are also natural approaches that can be utilized by themselves or in combination with over-the-counter remedies. A Neti pot or saline solutions are some examples. A vapor tablet, in some situations, when used in a hot shower can be very helpful as well. Environmental changes, like regularly 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 have a problem with pet dander, be sure to give your pets a bath regularly.
If None of These Help
Over-the-counter and natural remedies might not work in some cases. When none of these solutions help over the course of several weeks professional assistance might be required. An allergist will determine if you are a good candidate 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. These shots work by releasing a small bit of allergen into your system which allows your body to learn how to cope with it. This treatment does demand a long-term commitment of up to five years, although, patients often feel relief beginning at about eight months.
If none of the above methods deliver relief, and you’ve made sure the pressure in your ears isn’t due to an ear infection, then it is time to have your hearing tested.