The entire year is allergy season in some locations. From pollen to pet dander, allergies can vary from a minor annoyance to a daily battle that affects your quality of life. Runny nose and itchy eyes are the symptoms people are most familiar with and can be the first sign that you’re experiencing allergies.
But more advanced symptoms, like poor balance, tinnitus, and hearing loss sometimes happen. Added pressure in the middle and inner ear are responsible for these symptoms.
Why is Your Hearing Impacted by Allergies?
Your body releases a chemical called histamine when it senses an environmental allergen. This release results in the familiar sniffles and itchy eye symptoms of allergies. One less common symptom is fluid build up in your inner and middle ear. The fluid blocks the allergen from going deeper into your ear canal. This fluid causes pressure that can lead to tinnitus, problems hearing, and even loss of balance as your equilibrium is disrupted.
Treatment Solutions For Hearing Loss Caused by Allergies
Allergies can be treated in several different ways. The majority of people start with over-the-counter products such as Zyrtec, Claritin, and Allegra. Mild cases can be successfully treated within a couple of days and initial relief normally begins after the first dose. Extended use of these medicines is also safe. Others, such as Benadryl, Sudafed, and Afrin, can be used temporarily for relief, but are not recommended for continuous use because they can cause unwanted side effects.
There are also natural approaches that can be used on their own or combined with over-the-counter medications. These include saline sprays or a Neti pot. In some situations, even an ordinary hot shower can lead to improvement, particularly when combined with a vapor tablet. You can also make changes to your environment such as buying an air purifier, wiping dust off surfaces with a damp cloth, and washing your fabrics with hot water every two weeks. If you have pets and have trouble with pet dander, be sure to bathe your pet regularly.
When Nothing Else Works
For some people over-the-counter and natural solutions won’t be enough. When none of these methods help over the course of several weeks professional assistance might be needed. An allergist will determine if you are a good fit for allergy shots. These shots will be given in slowly increasing doses once a week for up to six months before switching to a shot once a month. These shots work by releasing a small bit of allergen into your system which enables your body to learn how to cope with it. This treatment does require a long-term commitment of up to five years, although, patients often feel relief beginning at about eight months.
If none of the above approaches deliver relief, and you’ve made sure the pressure in your ears isn’t due to an ear infection, then it is time to have your hearing tested.