The entire year is allergy season in some places. Allergies can range from mild to severe and can be triggered by everything from pet dander to pollen. Itchy eyes and a runny nose are the symptoms people are most familiar with and can be the first sign that you’re suffering from allergies.
But some will experience enhanced symptoms such as hearing loss, poor balance, and tinnitus. These symptoms occur because of increased pressure in your inner and middle ear.
Why is Your Hearing Affected by Allergies?
When your body senses an environmental allergen it responds by expelling a chemical called histamine. The common itchy eyes and runny nose are the result of this release. One less common symptom is fluid build up in your inner and middle ear. This is how your body stops the allergen from working its way deeper into your ear canal. This fluid creates pressure that can lead to tinnitus, trouble hearing, and even loss of balance as your equilibrium is affected.
Treatment Solutions For Hearing Loss Caused by Allergies
Allergies can be treated in many different ways. The majority of people start with over-the-counter medicines such as Zyrtec, Claritin, and Allegra. Minor cases can be effectively treated within a couple of days and initial relief usually begins after the first dose. Extended use of these products is also safe. Other allergy medication can be used temporarily but aren’t suggested as a long term strategy because of their possible side effects, these medications include Sudafed, Afrin, and Benadryl.
There are also natural approaches that can be used on their own or combined with over-the-counter remedies. Saline solutions or a Neti pot are some examples. A vapor tablet, in some situations, when used in a hot shower can be very helpful also. Environmental changes, such as regularly washing fabrics in hot water, using a damp cloth to minimize dust on surfaces, and running an air purifier can also significantly help. Make sure you bathe your pets regularly if you have any and try to feed them dander control pet food if you’re allergic to them.
If None of These Help
Over-the-counter and natural treatments may not work in some situations. If you’ve tried these approaches over the course of several weeks and you aren’t experiencing any relief it might be time to get professional assistance. An allergist will figure out if you are a good candidate for allergy shots. These shots will be given in slowly increasing doses once a week for up to six months before switching to a shot once a 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 about eight months for patients to experience some relief, this therapy will require a long term commitment of up to 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 have your hearing checked.