Depending on where you’re located, allergy season can be all year long. From pollen to pet dander, allergies can vary from a minor inconvenience to a daily struggle that impacts your quality of life. The first and most common signs that you are suffering from allergies are commonly a runny nose and itchy eyes.
But more pronounced symptoms, like poor balance, tinnitus, and hearing loss sometimes occur. Added pressure in the middle and inner ear are responsible for these symptoms.
Why do Allergies Impair Your Hearing?
Your body releases a chemical called histamine when it detects an environmental allergen. This release results in the familiar sniffles and itchy eye symptoms of allergies. Fluid buildup in the inner ear is a less known symptom. The fluid blocks the allergen from going 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 affected.
How to Manage This Allergy-Related Hearing Loss
Allergies can be managed in many different ways. Over-the-counter medications like Claritin, Zyrtec, and Allegra are normally the first options. Mild cases can be successfully treated within a couple of days and initial relief usually starts after the first dose. Long term use of these medicines is also safe. Others, like Benadryl, Sudafed, and Afrin, can be used short term for relief, but are not suggested for continuous use as they can result in 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. A vapor tablet, in certain situations, when used in a hot shower can be really helpful as well. You can also make changes to your environment such as purchasing an air purifier, cleaning dust off surfaces with a damp cloth, and washing your fabrics in hot water every two weeks. Be certain that you give your pets a bath regularly if you have any and try to feed them dander control pet food if you’re allergic to them.
Already Tried All That?
For some individuals over-the-counter and natural remedies won’t be sufficient. If you’ve tried these approaches over the course of several weeks and you’re not having any relief it might be time to seek professional help. An allergist will figure out if you are a good candidate for allergy shots. These shots will be given in slowly increasing dosages once a week for up to six months before changing to a shot once a month. These shots work by releasing a small amount of allergen into your system which allows your body to learn how to deal with it. This approach does require a long-term commitment of up to five years, however, patients often feel relief starting at about eight months.
If you still have pressure in your ears and none of these strategies help, it’s time to have a hearing test.