Depending on where you’re located, all year can be allergy season. From pet dander to pollen, allergies can vary from a minor aggravation to a daily battle that impacts your quality of life. Itchy eyes and a runny nose are the symptoms people are most familiar with and can be the first indication that you’re experiencing allergies.
But some will undergo advanced symptoms like loss of hearing, poor balance, and tinnitus. These symptoms are a side effect of increased pressure in your inner and middle ear.
Why is Your Hearing Affected by Allergies?
Your body releases a chemical called histamine when it senses an environmental allergen. The common itchy eyes and runny nose are the result of this release. Fluid buildup in the inner ear is a less known symptom. This is how your body stops the allergen from getting deeper into your ear canal. The resulting pressure can cause issues with your equilibrium leading to a blocked ear, trouble hearing, and balance issues.
Treatment Solutions For Hearing Loss Caused by Allergies
There are numerous ways to deal with the symptoms of allergies. Over-the-counter medications such as Zyrtec, Claritin, and Allegra are generally the first solution. These products are used to treat minor cases and can start working in as little as one dose with the maximum effect appearing after a few days of use. Long term use of these medicines is also safe. Others, like Benadryl, Sudafed, and Afrin, can be used short term for relief, but are not suggested for continuous use because they can lead to undesirable side effects.
You can also combine over-the-counter medications with natural treatments or the natural remedies can in some cases even be used by themselves. A Neti pot or saline solutions are some examples. A vapor tablet, in certain scenarios, when used in a hot shower can be very helpful also. Environmental changes, including regularly washing fabrics with hot water, using a damp cloth to minimize dust on surfaces, and using an air purifier can also significantly help. Make sure 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
Over-the-counter and natural remedies might not work in some cases. When none of these solutions help over the course of a few weeks professional help may be required. An allergist will figure out if you are a good fit for allergy shots. These shots will be delivered in slowly increasing doses once a week for up to six months before transitioning to a shot once a month. These shots work by introducing a small amount of allergen into your system which allows your body to learn how to deal with it. Although it only takes about eight months for patients to feel some relief, this therapy will require a long term commitment of as much as five years.
If you still have pressure in your ears and none of these methods help, it’s time to get a hearing exam.