Depending on where you live, all year can be allergy season. Allergies can range from mild to acute and can be triggered by anything from pollen to pet dander. Runny nose and itchy eyes are the symptoms people are most familiar with and can be the first indication that you’re suffering from allergies.
But more advanced symptoms, including poor balance, tinnitus, and hearing loss often happen. These symptoms are a side effect of increased pressure in your inner and middle ear.
Why is Your Hearing Affected by Allergies?
Your body releases a chemical called histamine when it detects an environmental allergen. The familiar itchy eyes and runny nose are the result of this release. One less prevalent symptom is fluid build up in your middle and inner ear. This is how your body stops the allergen from working its way deeper into your ear canal. This fluid produces pressure that can trigger tinnitus, problems hearing, and even loss of balance as your equilibrium is disrupted.
How to Treat This Allergy-Related Hearing Loss
There are numerous ways to deal with the symptoms of allergies. Most people begin 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 typically begins after the first dose. Extended use of these products is also safe. Others, such as Benadryl, Sudafed, and Afrin, can be used short term for relief, but are not suggested for extended use as they can lead to unwanted side effects.
You can also combine over-the-counter medications with natural solutions or the natural options can in some cases even be utilized by themselves. These include a Neti pot or saline sprays. In certain cases, even a simple hot shower can lead to improvement, particularly when paired with a vapor tablet. Environmental changes, like routinely washing fabrics in hot water, using a damp cloth to reduce dust on surfaces, and using an air purifier can also go a long way. Make sure you bathe your pets routinely if you have any and try to feed them dander control pet food if you’re allergic to them.
Already Tried All That?
Over-the-counter and natural treatments might not work in some situations. If you’ve tried these solutions over the course of a few weeks and you aren’t having any relief it may be time to get professional assistance. To find out if you need an allergy shot, you will have to go see an allergist. These shots will be delivered in slowly increasing dosages once a week for up to six months before switching to a monthly shot. Small amounts of the allergen will be introduced into your system letting your body gradually learn how to deal with it. Although it only takes around eight months for patients to experience some relief, this treatment will demand a long term commitment of as much as five years.
If none of the above methods deliver relief, and you’ve made sure the pressure in your ears isn’t due to an ear infection, then it is time to get your hearing tested.