The entire year is allergy season in some places. Allergies can range from minimal to acute and can be brought on by anything from pollen to pet dander. 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.
But more advanced symptoms, like tinnitus, poor balance, and hearing loss sometimes happen. Added pressure in the middle and inner ear is the reason for these symptoms.
Why do Allergies Affect Your Hearing?
When your body senses an environmental allergen it reacts by expelling a chemical called histamine. The familiar runny nose and itchy eyes are the outcomes of this release. One less common symptom is the buildup of fluid in your inner and middle ear. This is how your body stops the allergen from getting deeper into your ear canal. This fluid causes pressure that can lead to tinnitus, trouble hearing, and even loss of balance as your equilibrium is affected.
How to Treat This Allergy-Related Hearing Loss
There are lots of ways to manage the symptoms of allergies. Most people start with over-the-counter products such as Zyrtec, Claritin, and Allegra. Mild cases can be effectively treated within a couple of days and initial relief typically starts after the first dose. Extended use of these medicines is also safe. Other allergy medication can be used short term but aren’t suggested as a long term solution because of their potential side effects, these medications include Sudafed, Afrin, and Benadryl.
You can also combine over-the-counter medications with natural treatments or the natural options can in some cases even be used by themselves. A Neti pot or saline solutions are some examples. A vapor tablet, in certain situations, when used in a hot shower can be very helpful also. You can also take steps to change your environment like getting an air purifier, cleaning dust off surfaces with a damp cloth, and washing your fabrics with hot water every couple of weeks. Make sure you give your pets a bath frequently if you have any and try to feed them dander control pet food if you’re allergic to them.
If None of These Works
Over-the-counter and natural treatments may not work in some situations. If you’ve tried these solutions over the course of several weeks and you’re not having any relief it could be time to get professional advice. An allergist will determine if you are a good candidate for allergy shots. Every week for about six months a shot will be given in increasing doses then the shots will be decreased to one every month. These shots work by releasing a small bit of allergen into your system which enables your body to learn how to deal with it. This therapy does require a long-term commitment of up to five years, however, patients often experience 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 exam.