Depending on where you’re located, all year can be allergy season. From pollen to pet dander, allergies can vary from a minor aggravation to a daily struggle that affects your quality of life. The first and most common 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, bad balance, and tinnitus. These symptoms are a side effect of added pressure in your inner and middle ear.
Why do Allergies Impair Your Hearing?
When your body senses an environmental allergen it reacts by releasing a chemical called histamine. The familiar itchy eyes and runny nose are the outcomes of this release. One less common symptom is fluid build up in your inner and middle ear. The fluid stops the allergen from getting deeper into your ear canal. The resulting pressure can cause problems with your equilibrium leading to a blocked ear, difficulty hearing, and balance issues.
Treatment For Hearing Loss Caused by Allergies
Allergies can be treated in many different ways. The majority of people begin with over-the-counter products like Zyrtec, Claritin, and Allegra. Mild cases can be effectively treated within a couple of days and initial relief normally starts after the first dose. These products are also safe for continued long term use if needed. Others, like Benadryl, Sudafed, and Afrin, can be used short term for relief, but are not recommended for long term use as they can result in undesirable side effects.
There are also natural approaches that can be utilized on their own or combined with over-the-counter medications. Saline solutions or a Neti pot are some examples. In certain cases, 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 buying 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 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.
If None of These Help
For some individuals over-the-counter and natural treatments won’t be enough. If you’ve tried these approaches over the course of several weeks and you aren’t having any relief it might be time to seek professional help. An allergist will decide if you are a good fit for allergy shots. 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 introducing a small bit of allergen into your system which allows your body to learn how to cope with it. This approach does require a long-term commitment of up to five years, although, patients tend to feel 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.