All year is allergy season in some locations. Allergies can range from mild to acute and can be brought on by anything from pollen to pet dander. The first and most familiar indications that you are dealing with allergies are normally itchy eyes and a runny nose.
But some will undergo advanced symptoms like hearing loss, poor balance, and tinnitus. Added pressure in the inner and middle ear are responsible for these symptoms.
Why is Your Hearing Affected by Allergies?
When your body senses an environmental allergen it responds by discharging a chemical called histamine. The common runny nose and itchy eyes are the result of this release. One less common symptom is fluid build up in your inner and middle ear. This is how your body stops the allergen from getting deeper into your ear canal. This fluid creates pressure that can lead to tinnitus, trouble hearing, and even loss of balance as your equilibrium is disrupted.
How to Treat This Allergy-Related Hearing Loss
There are many ways to manage the symptoms of allergies. Over-the-counter medications such as Zyrtec, Claritin, and Allegra are usually the first solution. These medicines are used to treat mild conditions and can start working in as little as one dose with the full effect appearing after a few days of use. These products are also safe for continued long term use if need be. Others, such as Benadryl, Sudafed, and Afrin, can be used temporarily for relief, but are not advised for continuous use because they can result in undesirable side effects.
There are also natural approaches that can be utilized by themselves or in combination with over-the-counter medications. A Neti pot or saline solutions are some examples. In certain cases, even an ordinary hot shower can lead to improvement, especially when combined with a vapor tablet. Environmental changes, like routinely washing fabrics with hot water, using a damp cloth to reduce dust on surfaces, and running an air purifier can also go a long way. Make sure you give your pets a bath routinely if you have any and try to feed them dander control pet food if you’re allergic to them.
Already Tried All That?
For some people over-the-counter and natural treatments won’t be enough. If you’ve tried these methods over the course of several weeks and you’re not having any relief it might be time to seek professional advice. To find out if you require an allergy shot, you will need to go see an allergist. These shots will be given in slowly increasing doses once a week for up to six months before changing to a monthly shot. Small amounts of the allergen will be introduced into your system letting your body slowly learn how to handle it. This treatment does require a long-term commitment of up to five years, although, patients tend to experience relief beginning at around eight months.
If you still have pressure in your ears and none of these strategies help, it’s time to have a hearing test.