Depending on where you’re located, all year can be allergy season. Allergies can range from mild to extreme and can be brought on by anything from pet dander to pollen. The first and most familiar indications that you are dealing with allergies are usually a runny nose and itchy eyes.
But more pronounced symptoms, including tinnitus, bad balance, and hearing loss sometimes occur. These symptoms are a side effect of added pressure in your inner and middle ear.
Why do Allergies Impair Your Hearing?
When your body detects an environmental allergen it responds by discharging a chemical called histamine. This release results in the familiar sniffles and itchy eye symptoms of allergies. 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 trigger 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. Over-the-counter medications like Zyrtec, Claritin, and Allegra are typically the first solution. These products are used to treat minor cases and can begin 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 necessary. Others, like Benadryl, Sudafed, and Afrin, can be used short term for relief, but are not suggested for extended use as they can result in unwanted side effects.
You can also combine over-the-counter medications with natural remedies or the natural options can sometimes even be used by themselves. A Neti pot or saline solutions are some examples. In some cases, even a simple hot shower can lead to improvement, especially when combined with a vapor tablet. You can also make changes to your environment like buying 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 a problem with pet dander, be sure to give your pets a bath regularly.
If None of These Help
Over-the-counter and natural treatments might not work in some cases. When none of these approaches help over the course of a few weeks professional assistance might be needed. An allergist will figure out if you are a good fit for allergy shots. These shots will be delivered in slowly increasing doses once a week for up to six months before changing to a monthly shot. These shots work by releasing a small amount of allergen into your system which enables your body to learn how to deal with it. Even though it only takes around eight months for patients to experience some relief, this treatment will demand a long term commitment of up to five years.
If you still have pressure in your ears and none of these approaches help, it’s time to have a hearing exam.