Depending on where you’re located, all year can be allergy season. Allergies can range from minor to extreme and can be caused by everything from pollen to pet dander. The first and most familiar signs that you are dealing with allergies are usually itchy eyes and a runny nose.
But more pronounced symptoms, such as tinnitus, bad balance, and hearing loss sometimes occur. Increased pressure in the middle and inner ear is the reason for these symptoms.
Why do Allergies Impact Your Hearing?
Your body produces a chemical called histamine when it detects an environmental allergen. The familiar runny nose and itchy eyes are the result of this release. Fluid buildup in the inner ear is a less known symptom. This is how your body stops the allergen from working its way deeper into your ear canal. This fluid causes pressure that can lead to tinnitus, problems hearing, and even loss of balance as your equilibrium is disrupted.
How to Manage This Allergy-Related Hearing Loss
Allergies can be managed in several different ways. Over-the-counter medications like Zyrtec, Claritin, and Allegra are normally the first options. Minor cases can be successfully treated within a couple of days and initial relief normally begins after the first dose. Extended use of these medicines is also safe. Others, such as Benadryl, Sudafed, and Afrin, can be used short term for relief, but are not advised for continuous use as they can cause undesirable side effects.
You can also combine over-the-counter medications with natural treatments or the natural remedies can in some cases even be utilized by themselves. A Neti pot or saline solutions are some examples. In certain cases, even an ordinary hot shower can lead to improvement, particularly when combined with a vapor tablet. You can also make changes to your environment including 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 struggle with pet dander, be sure to give your pets a bath regularly.
Already Tried All That?
For some people over-the-counter and natural treatments won’t be enough. If you’ve tried these methods over the course of a few weeks and you aren’t experiencing any relief it could be time to seek professional advice. An allergist will figure out if you are a good fit for allergy shots. Every week for about six months a shot will be given in increasing dosages then the shots will be reduced to once a month. Small amounts of the allergen will be released into your system letting your body progressively learn how to deal with it. Even though it only takes about eight months for patients to experience some relief, this therapy will require a long term commitment of as much as five years.
If none of the above methods provides relief, and you’ve made certain the pressure in your ears isn’t due to an ear infection, then it is time to get your hearing tested.