All year is allergy season in some locations. Allergies can range from minor to extreme and can be brought on by anything from pollen to pet dander. Itchy eyes and a runny nose are the symptoms people are most familiar with and can be the first sign that you’re experiencing allergies.
But more pronounced symptoms, such as poor balance, tinnitus, and hearing loss sometimes occur. Added pressure in the middle and inner ear is the reason for these symptoms.
Why do Allergies Impair Your Hearing?
When your body senses an environmental allergen it responds by discharging a chemical called histamine. The common runny nose and itchy eyes are the result of this release. Fluid buildup in the inner ear is a less known symptom. The fluid stops the allergen from getting further into your ear canal. This fluid produces pressure that can lead to tinnitus, problems hearing, and even loss of balance as your equilibrium is affected.
Treatment Solutions For Hearing Loss Caused by Allergies
There are numerous ways to deal with the symptoms of allergies. Over-the-counter medications like Zyrtec, Claritin, and Allegra are generally the first options. Mild cases can be successfully treated within a couple of days and initial relief typically begins after the first dose. These products are also safe for continued long term use if need be. Others, like Benadryl, Sudafed, and Afrin, can be used temporarily for relief, but are not suggested for continuous use as they can lead to unwanted side effects.
There are also natural solutions that can be utilized on their own or combined with over-the-counter medications. Saline solutions or a Neti pot are some examples. In some situations, even an ordinary hot shower can lead to improvement, especially when paired with a vapor tablet. Environmental changes, like regularly washing fabrics with hot water, using a damp cloth to reduce dust on surfaces, and using an air purifier can also significantly help. If you have pets and have trouble with pet dander, make sure you bathe your pet frequently.
Already Tried All That?
Over-the-counter and natural solutions might not work in some circumstances. If you’ve tried these approaches over the course of several weeks and you aren’t having any relief it could be time to get 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 decreased to one every month. Small amounts of the allergen will be introduced into your system allowing your body to slowly learn how to handle it. This approach does demand a long-term commitment of up to five years, although, patients often feel relief starting at around eight months.
If you still have pressure in your ears and none of these methods help, it’s time to get a hearing exam.