The entire year is allergy season in some places. Allergies can range from minor to extreme and can be brought on by everything from pet dander to pollen. The first and most familiar signs that you are suffering from allergies are normally a runny nose and itchy eyes.
But some will experience enhanced symptoms like hearing loss, poor balance, and tinnitus. Increased pressure in the middle and inner ear are responsible for these symptoms.
Why do Allergies Impact Your Hearing?
When your body detects an environmental allergen it responds by releasing a chemical called histamine. The familiar runny nose and itchy eyes are the result of this release. Fluid accumulation in the inner ear is a less common symptom. The fluid blocks the allergen from getting deeper 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 many ways to treat the symptoms of allergies. Over-the-counter medications such as Claritin, Zyrtec, and Allegra are generally the first options. Mild cases can be successfully managed within a couple of days and initial relief typically starts after the first dose. Long term use of these medicines is also safe. Others, like Benadryl, Sudafed, and Afrin, can be used short term for relief, but are not suggested for long term use because they can result in undesirable side effects.
You can also combine over-the-counter medications with natural remedies or the natural remedies can in some cases even be utilized by themselves. Saline solutions or a Neti pot are some examples. A vapor tablet, in some scenarios, when used in a hot shower can be really helpful as well. You can also take steps to change your environment like getting an air purifier, wiping dust off surfaces with a damp cloth, and washing your fabrics in hot water every two weeks. If you have pets and have trouble with pet dander, make sure you bathe your pet frequently.
Already Tried All That?
Over-the-counter and natural solutions may not work in some situations. If you’ve tried these approaches over the course of a few weeks and you aren’t having any relief it might be time to get professional advice. To figure out if you need an allergy shot, you will need to go see an allergist. Every week for about six months a shot will be given in increasing doses then the shots will be decreased to one every month. Small amounts of the allergen will be introduced into your system letting your body progressively learn how to manage it. This treatment does require a long-term commitment of up to five years, although, patients often feel relief beginning at about eight months.
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.