The entire year is allergy season in some locations. From pollen to pet dander, allergies can range from a slight aggravation to a daily struggle that affects your quality of life. The first and most familiar indications that you are suffering from allergies are usually a runny nose and itchy eyes.
However, some will experience advanced symptoms like loss of hearing, poor balance, and tinnitus. Increased pressure in the middle and inner ear are responsible for these symptoms.
Why is Your Hearing Impacted by Allergies?
When your body detects an environmental allergen it responds by releasing a chemical called histamine. This release causes the familiar itchy eye symptoms and sniffles of allergies. One less prevalent symptom is fluid build up 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 result in problems with your equilibrium leading to a clogged ear, difficulty hearing, and balance issues.
How to Treat This Allergy-Related Hearing Loss
There are many ways to manage the symptoms of allergies. Over-the-counter medications such as Claritin, Zyrtec, and Allegra are typically the first options. Mild cases can be effectively treated within a couple of days and initial relief usually begins after the first dose. These products are also safe for prolonged long term use if need be. Others, such as Benadryl, Sudafed, and Afrin, can be used temporarily for relief, but are not suggested for long term use as they can result in undesirable side effects.
You can also combine over-the-counter medications with natural treatments or the natural remedies can in some cases even be utilized by themselves. These include a Neti pot or saline sprays. A vapor tablet, in certain situations, when used in a hot shower can be very helpful also. You can also make changes to your environment such as getting an air purifier, cleaning dust off surfaces with a damp cloth, and washing your fabrics with hot water every two weeks. Be certain that 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 solutions may not work in some circumstances. When none of these approaches help over the course of several weeks professional assistance might be needed. An allergist will determine if you are a good fit for allergy shots. Every week for around six months a shot will be given in increasing doses then the shots will be reduced to one every month. These shots work by introducing a small bit of allergen into your system which allows your body to learn how to cope with it. This treatment does require a long-term commitment of up to five years, although, patients tend to experience relief beginning 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 have your hearing checked.