All year is allergy season in some locations. From pollen to pet dander, allergies can vary from a small inconvenience to a daily struggle that affects your quality of life. Runny nose and itchy eyes are the symptoms people are most familiar with and can be the first indication that you’re experiencing allergies.
But more pronounced symptoms, such as poor balance, tinnitus, and hearing loss sometimes happen. 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 leads to the familiar itchy eye symptoms and sniffles of allergies. One less prevalent symptom is the buildup of fluid in your middle and inner ear. The fluid blocks the allergen from getting 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 Solutions For Hearing Loss Caused by Allergies
There are many ways to treat the symptoms of allergies. Over-the-counter medications such as Zyrtec, Claritin, and Allegra are normally the first options. These medicines are used to manage minor conditions and can start working in as little as one dose with the full effect manifesting after a few days of use. These products are also safe for prolonged long term use if need be. Other allergy medication can be used temporarily but aren’t suggested as a long term strategy because of their potential side effects, these medications include Sudafed, Afrin, and Benadryl.
There are also natural solutions that can be utilized by themselves or in combination with over-the-counter medications. Saline solutions or a Neti pot are some examples. A vapor tablet, in certain scenarios, when used in a hot shower can be very helpful also. You can also make changes to your environment like getting an air purifier, wiping dust off surfaces with a damp cloth, and washing your fabrics with hot water every couple of weeks. If you have pets and struggle with pet dander, make sure you bathe your pet regularly.
When Nothing Else Helps
For some people over-the-counter and natural solutions won’t be enough. When none of these methods help over the course of a few weeks professional help may be needed. To find out if you require an allergy shot, you will need to go see an allergist. These shots will be given in slowly increasing doses once a week for up to six months before switching to a monthly shot. These shots work by introducing a small bit of allergen into your system which allows your body to learn how to deal with it. Although it only takes around eight months for patients to experience some relief, this therapy will demand a long term commitment of up to five years.
If none of the above strategies 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 checked.