Depending on where you’re located, allergy season can be all year long. From pet dander to pollen, allergies can range from a slight inconvenience to a daily battle that impacts your quality of life. Runny nose and itchy eyes are the symptoms that are most familiar and can be the first indication that you’re experiencing allergies.
But more advanced symptoms, such as tinnitus, poor balance, and hearing loss often occur. Added pressure in the middle and inner ear is the reason for these symptoms.
Why do Allergies Impact Your Hearing?
Your body releases a chemical called histamine when it senses an environmental allergen. This release causes 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 working its way deeper into your ear canal. This fluid causes pressure that can lead to tinnitus, trouble hearing, and even loss of balance as your equilibrium is affected.
How to Manage This Allergy-Related Hearing Loss
Allergies can be treated in many different ways. Over-the-counter medications like Claritin, Zyrtec, and Allegra are typically the first solution. These products are used to treat mild conditions and can begin working in as little as one dose with the maximum effect appearing after a few days of use. Long term use of these products is also safe. Other allergy medication can be used short term but aren’t recommended as a long term solution because of their potential side effects, these medications include Sudafed, Afrin, and Benadryl.
There are also natural approaches that can be utilized on their own or in combination with over-the-counter remedies. These include saline sprays or a Neti pot. In certain situations, even a simple hot shower can lead to improvement, particularly when combined with a vapor tablet. Environmental changes, like regularly washing fabrics in hot water, using a damp cloth to reduce dust on surfaces, and using an air purifier can also go a long way. If you have pets and have trouble with pet dander, make sure you bathe your pet frequently.
If None of These Works
Over-the-counter and natural treatments might not work in some situations. When none of these solutions help over the course of a few weeks professional assistance might be needed. To figure out if you require an allergy shot, you will need to consult an allergist. These shots will be given in slowly increasing doses once a week for up to six months before changing to a shot once a month. These shots work by releasing a small amount of allergen into your system which allows your body to learn how to deal with it. This treatment does require a long-term commitment of up to five years, however, patients often experience relief starting at around eight months.
If you still have pressure in your ears and none of these methods help, it’s time to have a hearing test.