The entire year is allergy season in some places. From pet dander to pollen, allergies can vary from a slight inconvenience to a daily struggle that affects your quality of life. The first and most common signs that you are dealing with allergies are usually itchy eyes and a runny nose.
But more advanced symptoms, including tinnitus, bad balance, 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?
Your body produces a chemical called histamine when it detects an environmental allergen. This release results in the familiar sniffles and itchy eye symptoms of allergies. One less prevalent symptom is fluid build up in your inner and middle ear. The fluid stops the allergen from getting further into your ear canal. The resulting pressure can cause problems with your equilibrium leading to a blocked ear, trouble hearing, and balance issues.
Treatment For Hearing Loss Caused by Allergies
There are many ways to treat the symptoms of allergies. Over-the-counter medications such as Zyrtec, Claritin, and Allegra are normally the first options. Mild cases can be effectively managed within a couple of days and initial relief typically starts after the first dose. These products are also safe for continued long term use if need be. Others, such as Benadryl, Sudafed, and Afrin, can be used short term for relief, but are not suggested for extended use as they can result in undesirable side effects.
There are also natural solutions that can be utilized on their own or combined with over-the-counter remedies. A Neti pot or saline solutions are some examples. In some cases, even an ordinary hot shower can lead to improvement, particularly when combined with a vapor tablet. Environmental changes, such as regularly washing fabrics with hot water, using a damp cloth to minimize dust on surfaces, and using an air purifier can also significantly help. Be sure you bathe your pets regularly if you have any and try to feed them dander control pet food if you’re allergic to them.
When Nothing Else Works
Over-the-counter and natural solutions may not work in some cases. If you’ve tried these methods over the course of several weeks and you’re not having any relief it could be time to get professional assistance. An allergist will decide if you are a good candidate for allergy shots. 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 introducing a small amount of allergen into your system which enables your body to learn how to deal with it. Though 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 strategies provides 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.