The entire year is allergy season in some places. Allergies can range from minor to severe and can be brought on by anything from pollen to pet dander. The first and most familiar signs that you are suffering from allergies are commonly itchy eyes and a runny nose.
But more pronounced symptoms, such as tinnitus, bad balance, and hearing loss often occur. These symptoms happen because of increased pressure in your inner and middle ear.
Why do Allergies Impair Your Hearing?
Your body produces a chemical called histamine when it senses an environmental allergen. The familiar itchy eyes and runny nose are the outcomes of this release. One less prevalent 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. The resulting pressure can result in issues with your equilibrium leading to a blocked ear, trouble hearing, and balance issues.
How to Treat This Allergy-Related Hearing Loss
Allergies can be treated in many different ways. Over-the-counter medications like Claritin, Zyrtec, and Allegra are usually the first solution. Minor cases can be effectively managed within a couple of days and initial relief normally starts after the first dose. These products are also safe for prolonged long term use if need be. Other allergy medication can be used short term but aren’t suggested as a long term solution because of their potential side effects, these medications include Sudafed, Afrin, and Benadryl.
You can also combine over-the-counter medications with natural treatments or the natural options can sometimes even be utilized by themselves. These include a Neti pot or saline sprays. In some cases, even an ordinary hot shower can lead to improvement, especially when paired with a vapor tablet. You can also make changes to your environment such as buying 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 give your pets a bath regularly.
Already Tried All That?
Over-the-counter and natural treatments may not work in some cases. When none of these approaches help over the course of several weeks professional assistance may be required. An allergist will decide if you are a good fit for allergy shots. These shots will be delivered in slowly increasing doses once a week for up to six months before transitioning to a shot once a month. Small amounts of the allergen will be introduced into your system letting your body slowly learn how to deal with it. Even though it only takes about eight months for patients to experience some relief, this treatment will demand a long term commitment of up to five years.
If none of the above approaches deliver 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 tested.