Environmental Allergies Can Lead to Hearing Issues

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

Depending on where you live, allergy season can be all year long. Allergies can range from minimal to extreme and can be brought on by everything from pet dander to pollen. Itchy eyes and a runny nose are the symptoms that are most familiar and can be the first indication that you’re suffering from allergies.

But some will experience advanced symptoms like hearing loss, poor balance, and tinnitus. These symptoms are a side effect of added pressure in your inner and middle ear.

Why is Your Hearing Impacted by Allergies?

When your body detects an environmental allergen it reacts by expelling a chemical called histamine. The familiar runny nose and itchy eyes are the outcomes of this release. Fluid accumulation in the inner ear is a less common symptom. The fluid blocks the allergen from going further into your ear canal. This fluid produces pressure that can trigger tinnitus, problems hearing, and even loss of balance as your equilibrium is affected.

Treatment For Hearing Loss Caused by Allergies

Allergies can be managed in many different ways. Over-the-counter medications such as Zyrtec, Claritin, and Allegra are generally the first options. Minor cases can be successfully treated within a couple of days and initial relief typically begins after the first dose. Long term use of these medicines is also safe. Other allergy medication can be used temporarily but aren’t recommended as a long term strategy because of their potential side effects, these medications include Sudafed, Afrin, and Benadryl.

You can also combine over-the-counter medications with natural remedies or the natural remedies can in some cases even be utilized by themselves. These include saline sprays or a Neti pot. In some situations, even a simple hot shower can lead to improvement, particularly when paired with a vapor tablet. You can also take steps to change your environment like purchasing an air purifier, wiping dust off surfaces with a damp cloth, and washing your fabrics with hot water every two weeks. Make 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.

If None of These Works

For some people over-the-counter and natural solutions won’t be enough. When none of these methods help over the course of several weeks professional help may be required. An allergist will figure out if you are a good fit for allergy shots. These shots will be given 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 released into your system letting your body slowly learn how to manage it. This therapy does require a long-term commitment of up to five years, however, patients tend to experience relief beginning at about eight months.

If none of the above approaches deliver relief, and you’ve made certain the pressure in your ears isn’t caused by an ear infection, then it is time to get your hearing checked.

The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. Schedule an appointment to see if hearing aids could benefit you.