Hearing Health Blog

Woman in bed sneezing with allergies that are clogging her ear.

All year is allergy season in some places. From pet dander to pollen, allergies can range from a minor annoyance to a daily struggle that impacts your quality of life. The first and most familiar indications that you are suffering from allergies are usually a runny nose and itchy eyes.

But more pronounced symptoms, including tinnitus, bad balance, and hearing loss sometimes occur. These symptoms are a side effect of increased pressure in your inner and middle ear.

Why do Allergies Impact Your Hearing?

When your body senses an environmental allergen it responds by expelling a chemical called histamine. The familiar runny nose and itchy eyes are the outcomes of this release. Fluid buildup in the inner ear is a less common symptom. This is how your body stops the allergen from working its way deeper into your ear canal. This fluid causes pressure that can trigger tinnitus, trouble hearing, and even loss of balance as your equilibrium is disrupted.

How to Manage This Allergy-Related Hearing Loss

There are lots of ways to manage the symptoms of allergies. Most people start with over-the-counter products such as Zyrtec, Claritin, and Allegra. Mild cases can be successfully managed within a couple of days and initial relief normally begins after the first dose. Extended use of these medicines is also safe. Others, like Benadryl, Sudafed, and Afrin, can be used temporarily for relief, but are not advised for long term use because they can cause unwanted side effects.

You can also combine over-the-counter medications with natural treatments or the natural remedies can in some cases even be used by themselves. A Neti pot or saline solutions are some examples. In some situations, even an ordinary hot shower can lead to improvement, particularly when combined with a vapor tablet. Environmental changes, including routinely washing fabrics with hot water, using a damp cloth to minimize dust on surfaces, and running an air purifier can also significantly help. Be sure you give your pets a bath frequently if you have any and try to feed them dander control pet food if you’re allergic to them.

Already Tried All That?

For some people over-the-counter and natural solutions won’t be sufficient. When none of these solutions help over the course of a few weeks professional assistance may be needed. To find out if you need an allergy shot, you will have to consult an allergist. These shots will be delivered in slowly increasing dosages once a week for up to six months before changing to a monthly shot. These shots work by introducing a small bit of allergen into your system which allows your body to learn how to cope with it. Even though it only takes around eight months for patients to experience some relief, this therapy will demand a long term commitment of up to five years.

If none of the above strategies 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 checked.

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