All year is allergy season in some locations. Allergies can range from minor to severe and can be triggered by anything from pet dander to pollen. The first and most common indications that you are suffering from allergies are usually a runny nose and itchy eyes.
However, some will undergo advanced symptoms such as loss of hearing, bad balance, and tinnitus. These symptoms are a side effect of added pressure in your inner and middle ear.
Why is Your Hearing Affected by Allergies?
Your body releases a chemical called histamine when it senses an environmental allergen. The common runny nose and itchy eyes are the outcomes of this release. One less prevalent symptom is the buildup of fluid 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 creates pressure that can lead to tinnitus, problems hearing, and even loss of balance as your equilibrium is affected.
Treatment For Hearing Loss Caused by Allergies
Allergies can be treated in many different ways. The majority of people begin with over-the-counter products such as Zyrtec, Claritin, and Allegra. These medicines are used to manage minor cases and can start working in as little as one dose with the maximum effect manifesting after a few days of use. Long term use of these products is also safe. Others, such as Benadryl, Sudafed, and Afrin, can be used short term for relief, but are not recommended for extended use as they can result in unwanted side effects.
There are also natural solutions that can be used by themselves or in combination with over-the-counter medications. These include saline sprays or a Neti pot. A vapor tablet, in certain situations, when used in a hot shower can be really helpful also. Environmental changes, including regularly washing fabrics in hot water, using a damp cloth to reduce dust on surfaces, and running an air purifier can also go a long way. If you have pets and have trouble with pet dander, be sure to bathe your pet frequently.
Already Tried All That?
For some individuals over-the-counter and natural solutions won’t be enough. If you’ve tried these methods over the course of several weeks and you’re not experiencing any relief it could be time to seek professional assistance. To find out if you need an allergy shot, you will need to consult an allergist. These shots will be given in slowly increasing doses once a week for up to six months before switching to a shot once a month. These shots work by introducing a small bit of allergen into your system which enables your body to learn how to cope with it. Although it only takes about eight months for patients to feel 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 tested.