Depending on where you’re located, all year can be allergy season. From pollen to pet dander, allergies can range from a small inconvenience 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 indication that you’re suffering from allergies.
However, some will undergo advanced symptoms like loss of hearing, bad balance, and tinnitus. Added pressure in the middle and inner ear is the reason for these symptoms.
Why do Allergies Affect Your Hearing?
When your body detects an environmental allergen it responds by expelling a chemical called histamine. The common runny nose and itchy eyes are the result of this release. Fluid accumulation in the inner ear is a less common symptom. This is how your body stops the allergen from working its way deeper into your ear canal. This fluid creates pressure that can lead to tinnitus, problems hearing, and even loss of balance as your equilibrium is disrupted.
Treatment For Hearing Loss Caused by Allergies
Allergies can be managed in several different ways. The majority of people start with over-the-counter medicines such as Claritin, Zyrtec, and Allegra. Minor cases can be effectively managed within a couple of days and initial relief normally begins after the first dose. Extended use of these products is also safe. Other allergy medication can be used short term but aren’t recommended as a long term solution because of their potential side effects, these medications include Sudafed, Afrin, and Benadryl.
There are also natural approaches that can be used on their own or combined with over-the-counter medications. A Neti pot or saline solutions are some examples. A vapor tablet, in some situations, when used in a hot shower can be very helpful as well. You can also take steps to change your environment including purchasing an air purifier, wiping dust off surfaces with a damp cloth, and washing your fabrics in hot water every couple of weeks. If you have pets and have trouble with pet dander, make sure you give your pets a bath regularly.
Already Tried All That?
Over-the-counter and natural treatments may not work in some circumstances. When none of these methods help over the course of a few weeks professional help may be required. To figure out if you need an allergy shot, you will need to consult an allergist. Every week for about six months a shot will be given in increasing dosages then the shots will be reduced to once a month. These shots work by introducing a small amount of allergen into your system which enables your body to learn how to deal with it. This treatment does require a long-term commitment of up to five years, however, patients tend to experience relief starting at about eight months.
If you still have pressure in your ears and none of these strategies help, it’s time to get a hearing test.