The entire year is allergy season in some locations. From pet dander to pollen, allergies can range from a small annoyance to a daily struggle that impacts your quality of life. Itchy eyes and a runny nose are the symptoms that are most familiar and can be the first indication that you’re dealing with allergies.
But more advanced symptoms, such as poor balance, tinnitus, and hearing loss often happen. Increased pressure in the inner and middle ear is the reason for these symptoms.
Why is Your Hearing Affected by Allergies?
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 fluid build up in your inner and middle ear. The fluid stops the allergen from going further into your ear canal. The resulting pressure can result in issues with your equilibrium leading to a blocked ear, trouble hearing, and balance issues.
How to Treat This Allergy-Related Hearing Loss
There are lots of ways to manage the symptoms of allergies. Over-the-counter medications like Zyrtec, Claritin, and Allegra are typically the first options. Minor cases can be successfully managed within a couple of days and initial relief normally starts after the first dose. These products are also safe for prolonged long term use if necessary. Others, such as Benadryl, Sudafed, and Afrin, can be used short term for relief, but are not advised for long term use because they can cause unwanted side effects.
You can also combine over-the-counter medications with natural remedies or the natural options can in some cases even be used by themselves. Saline solutions or a Neti pot are some examples. A vapor tablet, in certain scenarios, when used in a hot shower can be really helpful as well. Environmental changes, such as 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. If you have pets and have trouble with pet dander, make sure you give your pets a bath regularly.
If None of These Help
Over-the-counter and natural treatments might not work in some situations. If you’ve tried these solutions over the course of a few weeks and you aren’t having any relief it might be time to seek professional help. To figure out if you require an allergy shot, you will have to go see an allergist. Every week for around six months a shot will be given in increasing dosages then the shots will be reduced to one every month. Small amounts of the allergen will be introduced into your system allowing your body to gradually learn how to manage it. Though it only takes about eight months for patients to experience some relief, this treatment will require a long term commitment of up to five years.
If you still have pressure in your ears and none of these strategies help, it’s time to get a hearing exam.