Depending on where you’re located, allergy season can be all year long. Allergies can range from minor to acute and can be caused by anything from pet dander to pollen. Runny nose and itchy eyes are the symptoms people are most familiar with and can be the first sign that you’re dealing with allergies.
But more pronounced symptoms, such as tinnitus, poor balance, and hearing loss sometimes occur. These symptoms are a side effect of added 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. The common 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. This is how your body stops the allergen from getting deeper into your ear canal. The resulting pressure can result in problems with your equilibrium leading to a clogged ear, difficulty hearing, and balance issues.
Treatment For Hearing Loss Caused by Allergies
Allergies can be managed in several different ways. Over-the-counter medications such as Zyrtec, Claritin, and Allegra are generally the first options. Mild cases can be effectively managed within a couple of days and initial relief normally begins after the first dose. These products are also safe for prolonged long term use if needed. Others, such as Benadryl, Sudafed, and Afrin, can be used short term for relief, but are not recommended for extended use as they can cause undesirable side effects.
There are also natural solutions that can be used by themselves or in combination with over-the-counter medications. Saline solutions or a Neti pot are some examples. A vapor tablet, in certain scenarios, when used in a hot shower can be very helpful also. You can also take steps to change your environment like buying an air purifier, cleaning dust off surfaces with a damp cloth, and washing your fabrics with hot water every two weeks. Be sure you give your pets a bath frequently if you have any and try to feed them dander control pet food if you’re allergic to them.
If None of These Help
Over-the-counter and natural treatments might not work in some circumstances. If you’ve tried these methods over the course of a few weeks and you aren’t experiencing any relief it may be time to seek professional assistance. An allergist will decide if you are a good fit for allergy shots. These shots will be given in slowly increasing doses once a week for up to six months before switching to a shot once a month. Small amounts of the allergen will be released into your system letting your body progressively learn how to manage it. Although it only takes around eight months for patients to feel some relief, this therapy 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 test.