Depending on where you live, allergy season can be all year long. From pet dander to pollen, allergies can range from a slight annoyance to a daily struggle that affects your quality of life. The first and most familiar signs that you are dealing with allergies are commonly a runny nose and itchy eyes.
However, some will experience advanced symptoms such as hearing loss, bad balance, and tinnitus. These symptoms happen because of added pressure in your inner and middle ear.
Why is Your Hearing Affected by Allergies?
When your body senses an environmental allergen it reacts by expelling a chemical called histamine. This release results in the familiar sniffles and itchy eye symptoms of allergies. One less common 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. 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
There are many ways to deal with the symptoms of allergies. Over-the-counter medications like Claritin, Zyrtec, and Allegra are usually the first options. Mild cases can be successfully treated within a couple of days and initial relief typically starts after the first dose. Long term use of these products is also safe. Other allergy medication can be used short term but aren’t suggested as a long term solution because of their possible side effects, these medications include Sudafed, Afrin, and Benadryl.
There are also natural solutions that can be utilized on their own 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 really helpful also. You can also make changes to your environment including buying an air purifier, cleaning dust off surfaces with a damp cloth, and washing your fabrics in hot water every two weeks. Make sure you give your pets a bath regularly if you have any and try to feed them dander control pet food if you’re allergic to them.
When Nothing Else Helps
For some individuals over-the-counter and natural treatments won’t be enough. When none of these methods help over the course of a few weeks professional assistance might be required. To find out if you require an allergy shot, you will have to go see an allergist. Every week for around six months a shot will be given in increasing dosages then the shots will be decreased to one every 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 demand a long-term commitment of up to five years, although, patients often experience relief starting at about eight months.
If none of the above approaches deliver relief, and you’ve made certain the pressure in your ears isn’t due to an ear infection, then it is time to have your hearing checked.