Depending on where you’re located, all year can be allergy season. From pollen to pet dander, allergies can range from a minor annoyance to a daily struggle that affects your quality of life. The first and most familiar signs that you are dealing with allergies are commonly itchy eyes and a runny nose.
But more pronounced symptoms, such as poor balance, tinnitus, and hearing loss often happen. These symptoms are a side effect of increased pressure in your inner and middle ear.
Why do Allergies Impact Your Hearing?
Your body produces a chemical called histamine when it detects an environmental allergen. This release leads to the familiar itchy eye symptoms and sniffles 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. The resulting pressure can cause issues with your equilibrium leading to a clogged ear, trouble hearing, and balance issues.
Treatment For Hearing Loss Caused by Allergies
There are lots of ways to deal with the symptoms of allergies. Most people start with over-the-counter products like Claritin, Zyrtec, and Allegra. Minor cases can be effectively treated within a couple of days and initial relief typically begins after the first dose. Extended use of these products is also safe. Others, like Benadryl, Sudafed, and Afrin, can be used temporarily for relief, but are not recommended for continuous use because they can lead to undesirable side effects.
You can also combine over-the-counter medications with natural remedies or the natural options can sometimes even be used by themselves. A Neti pot or saline solutions are some examples. In certain situations, even a simple hot shower can lead to improvement, especially when combined with a vapor tablet. Environmental changes, including regularly 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 have a problem with pet dander, be sure to give your pets a bath regularly.
If None of These Works
Over-the-counter and natural treatments may not work in some cases. If you’ve tried these approaches over the course of a few weeks and you aren’t having any relief it could be time to seek professional advice. To figure out if you need an allergy shot, you will have to go see an allergist. These shots will be given in slowly increasing dosages once a week for up to six months before changing to a monthly shot. Small amounts of the allergen will be released into your system allowing your body to slowly learn how to deal with it. Although it only takes around eight months for patients to feel some relief, this treatment will demand a long term commitment of up to five years.
If you still have pressure in your ears and none of these strategies help, it’s time to get a hearing exam.