Depending on where you live, allergy season can be all year long. Allergies can range from minor to acute and can be caused by everything from pollen to pet dander. The first and most familiar indications that you are suffering from allergies are commonly itchy eyes and a runny nose.
But more pronounced symptoms, like poor balance, tinnitus, and hearing loss sometimes occur. These symptoms happen because of added pressure in your inner and middle ear.
Why is Your Hearing Impacted by Allergies?
Your body produces a chemical called histamine when it detects an environmental allergen. This release causes the familiar sniffles and itchy eye symptoms of allergies. Fluid accumulation in the inner ear is a less common symptom. The fluid blocks the allergen from going further into your ear canal. The resulting pressure can cause problems with your equilibrium leading to a blocked ear, difficulty hearing, and balance issues.
Treatment For Hearing Loss Caused by Allergies
There are lots of ways to deal with the symptoms of allergies. The majority of people start with over-the-counter medicines like Claritin, Zyrtec, and Allegra. These products are used to treat mild conditions and can start working in as little as one dose with the maximum effect manifesting 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 temporarily for relief, but are not recommended for long term use as they can cause unwanted side effects.
You can also combine over-the-counter medications with natural remedies or the natural remedies can in some cases even be used by themselves. These include a Neti pot or saline sprays. In some situations, even an ordinary hot shower can lead to improvement, especially when combined with a vapor tablet. Environmental changes, including regularly washing fabrics in hot water, using a damp cloth to reduce dust on surfaces, and running an air purifier can also significantly help. Be sure you give your pets a bath routinely if you have any and try to feed them dander control pet food if you’re allergic to them.
If None of These Help
For some individuals over-the-counter and natural solutions won’t be enough. If you’ve tried these approaches over the course of a few weeks and you’re not experiencing any relief it may be time to seek professional advice. An allergist will decide if you are a good fit for allergy shots. These shots will be given in slowly increasing dosages once a week for up to six months before switching to a shot once a month. These shots work by introducing a small bit of allergen into your system which allows your body to learn how to cope with it. This treatment does require a long-term commitment of up to five years, although, patients tend to feel relief starting at about eight months.
If none of the above approaches provides relief, and you’ve made sure the pressure in your ears isn’t caused by an ear infection, then it is time to have your hearing checked.