Depending on where you live, all year can be allergy season. Allergies can range from mild to acute and can be brought on 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 indication that you’re suffering from allergies.
But more advanced symptoms, including tinnitus, poor balance, and hearing loss sometimes happen. Increased pressure in the inner and middle ear are responsible for these symptoms.
Why is Your Hearing Impacted by Allergies?
Your body produces a chemical called histamine when it detects an environmental allergen. This release results in the familiar sniffles and itchy eye symptoms of allergies. One less prevalent symptom is the buildup of fluid in your inner and middle ear. The fluid stops the allergen from getting further into your ear canal. This fluid produces pressure that can trigger tinnitus, problems hearing, and even loss of balance as your equilibrium is disrupted.
Treatment For Hearing Loss Caused by Allergies
Allergies can be treated in several different ways. Over-the-counter medications such as Claritin, Zyrtec, and Allegra are generally the first solution. Minor cases can be successfully managed within a couple of days and initial relief normally starts after the first dose. Extended use of these products is also safe. Others, like Benadryl, Sudafed, and Afrin, can be used short term for relief, but are not advised for long term use as they can lead to unwanted side effects.
There are also natural approaches that can be utilized by themselves or in combination with over-the-counter medications. These include saline sprays or a Neti pot. A vapor tablet, in some scenarios, when used in a hot shower can be very helpful also. You can also make changes to your environment like purchasing an air purifier, cleaning dust off surfaces with a damp cloth, and washing your fabrics with hot water every couple of 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.
Already Tried All That?
For some people over-the-counter and natural treatments won’t be sufficient. If you’ve tried these solutions over the course of a few weeks and you’re not having any relief it may be time to get professional help. An allergist will decide if you are a good candidate for allergy shots. These shots will be given in slowly increasing doses 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 gradually learn how to handle it. Even though it only takes about 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 exam.