The entire year is allergy season in some locations. Allergies can range from minimal to acute and can be triggered by everything from pollen to pet dander. The first and most familiar indications that you are suffering from allergies are commonly itchy eyes and a runny nose.
But more pronounced symptoms, including tinnitus, poor balance, and hearing loss sometimes occur. 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 detects an environmental allergen. The familiar itchy eyes and runny nose are the outcomes of this release. One less prevalent symptom is the buildup of fluid in your inner and middle ear. The fluid blocks the allergen from getting further into your ear canal. This fluid creates pressure that can trigger tinnitus, problems 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 manage the symptoms of allergies. Most people begin with over-the-counter products such as Claritin, Zyrtec, and Allegra. These medicines are used to manage minor cases and can begin working in as little as one dose with the maximum effect appearing after a few days of use. These products are also safe for prolonged long term use if need be. Others, like Benadryl, Sudafed, and Afrin, can be used short term for relief, but are not advised for extended use as they can result in unwanted side effects.
There are also natural approaches that can be utilized on their own or in combination with over-the-counter medications. 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. Environmental changes, like routinely washing fabrics in hot water, using a damp cloth to reduce dust on surfaces, and using an air purifier can also significantly help. If you have pets and struggle with pet dander, be sure to bathe your pet frequently.
If None of These Works
Over-the-counter and natural treatments might not work in some situations. When none of these methods help over the course of several weeks professional assistance might be needed. An allergist will figure out if you are a good candidate 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. Small amounts of the allergen will be released into your system letting your body progressively learn how to deal with it. This therapy does require a long-term commitment of up to five years, although, patients often experience relief starting at about eight months.
If none of the above strategies provides relief, and you’ve made sure the pressure in your ears isn’t due to an ear infection, then it is time to get your hearing checked.