All year is allergy season in some places. From pet dander to pollen, allergies can vary from a small annoyance to a daily struggle that impacts your quality of life. Runny nose and itchy eyes are the symptoms that are most familiar and can be the first sign that you’re experiencing allergies.
But more advanced symptoms, like poor balance, tinnitus, and hearing loss often happen. Added pressure in the middle and inner ear are responsible for these symptoms.
Why do Allergies Impair Your Hearing?
Your body produces a chemical called histamine when it senses 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 common symptom. This is how your body stops the allergen from getting deeper into your ear canal. This fluid produces pressure that can trigger tinnitus, trouble hearing, and even loss of balance as your equilibrium is affected.
Treatment For Hearing Loss Caused by Allergies
Allergies can be treated in several different ways. Over-the-counter medications like Claritin, Zyrtec, and Allegra are typically the first options. Mild cases can be effectively treated within a couple of days and initial relief usually starts after the first dose. These products are also safe for continued long term use if necessary. 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 solutions that can be utilized on their own or combined with over-the-counter medications. These include a Neti pot or saline sprays. In certain situations, even an ordinary hot shower can lead to improvement, particularly when paired with a vapor tablet. You can also take steps to change your environment including purchasing an air purifier, cleaning dust off surfaces with a damp cloth, and washing your fabrics in hot water every two weeks. If you have pets and struggle with pet dander, make sure you bathe your pet frequently.
Already Tried All That?
For some people over-the-counter and natural treatments won’t be enough. When none of these solutions help over the course of a few weeks professional assistance might be needed. To find out if you require an allergy shot, you will need to go see an allergist. Every week for about six months a shot will be given in increasing doses then the shots will be decreased to one every month. These shots work by releasing a small bit of allergen into your system which enables your body to learn how to deal with it. Even though it only takes about eight months for patients to experience some relief, this treatment will require a long term commitment of as much as five years.
If none of the above strategies deliver 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.