The entire year is allergy season in some places. From pet dander to pollen, allergies can vary from a slight aggravation to a daily battle that impacts your quality of life. The first and most familiar indications that you are dealing with allergies are normally a runny nose and itchy eyes.
But more pronounced symptoms, like tinnitus, bad balance, and hearing loss often happen. These symptoms are a side effect of increased pressure in your inner and middle ear.
Why is Your Hearing Affected by Allergies?
When your body detects an environmental allergen it reacts by releasing a chemical called histamine. This release results in the familiar sniffles and itchy eye symptoms of allergies. One less prevalent symptom is fluid build up in your middle and inner ear. The fluid blocks the allergen from getting deeper into your ear canal. This fluid creates pressure that can trigger tinnitus, trouble hearing, and even loss of balance as your equilibrium is affected.
How to Manage This Allergy-Related Hearing Loss
There are many ways to deal with the symptoms of allergies. The majority of people start with over-the-counter medicines like Claritin, Zyrtec, and Allegra. Mild cases can be successfully managed within a couple of days and initial relief usually starts after the first dose. These products are also safe for continued long term use if needed. 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.
You can also combine over-the-counter medications with natural solutions or the natural options can in some cases even be utilized by themselves. A Neti pot or saline solutions are some examples. A vapor tablet, in certain scenarios, when used in a hot shower can be very helpful as well. Environmental changes, such as routinely washing fabrics with hot water, using a damp cloth to minimize dust on surfaces, and running an air purifier can also significantly help. If you have pets and have a problem with pet dander, make sure you bathe your pet regularly.
When Nothing Else Works
Over-the-counter and natural solutions might not work in some situations. When none of these solutions help over the course of a few weeks professional help may be required. To find out if you need an allergy shot, you will have 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 one every month. Small amounts of the allergen will be released into your system letting your body gradually learn how to deal with it. Although it only takes around eight months for patients to experience some relief, this treatment will require a long term commitment of as much as five years.
If you still have pressure in your ears and none of these approaches help, it’s time to have a hearing test.