The entire year is allergy season in some places. Allergies can range from minor to acute and can be caused by anything from pet dander to pollen. The first and most common signs that you are suffering from allergies are commonly itchy eyes and a runny nose.
But more advanced symptoms, like poor balance, tinnitus, and hearing loss often occur. These symptoms are a side effect of added pressure in your inner and middle ear.
Why do Allergies Affect Your Hearing?
When your body detects an environmental allergen it responds by expelling a chemical called histamine. This release leads to the familiar itchy eye symptoms and sniffles of allergies. Fluid accumulation in the inner ear is a less common symptom. The fluid stops the allergen from getting deeper into your ear canal. This fluid causes pressure that can trigger tinnitus, problems hearing, and even loss of balance as your equilibrium is disrupted.
Treatment Solutions For Hearing Loss Caused by Allergies
There are many ways to deal with the symptoms of allergies. Over-the-counter medications like Claritin, Zyrtec, and Allegra are normally the first options. These products are used to manage mild cases and can begin working in as little as one dose with the maximum effect appearing after a few days of use. These products are also safe for continued long term use if necessary. Others, like Benadryl, Sudafed, and Afrin, can be used temporarily for relief, but are not advised for extended use as they can lead to undesirable side effects.
You can also combine over-the-counter medications with natural solutions or the natural remedies can sometimes even be used by themselves. These include a Neti pot or saline sprays. In some situations, even a simple hot shower can lead to improvement, especially when paired with a vapor tablet. You can also take steps to change your environment including getting an air purifier, cleaning dust off surfaces with a damp cloth, and washing your fabrics in hot water every couple of weeks. Be certain that you bathe your pets routinely if you have any and try to feed them dander control pet food if you’re allergic to them.
When Nothing Else Works
For some individuals over-the-counter and natural remedies won’t be enough. If you’ve tried these methods over the course of a few weeks and you’re not experiencing any relief it might be time to seek professional help. To find out if you need an allergy shot, you will need to go see an allergist. These shots will be given in slowly increasing dosages once a week for up to six months before transitioning to a monthly shot. Small amounts of the allergen will be introduced into your system allowing your body to progressively learn how to deal with it. This therapy does demand a long-term commitment of up to five years, although, patients tend to experience relief starting at around eight months.
If none of the above strategies provides 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 checked.