Environmental Allergies Can Lead to Poor Hearing

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

Depending on where you’re located, all year can be allergy season. Allergies can range from mild to acute and can be brought on 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 experiencing allergies.

But some will experience advanced symptoms like hearing loss, poor balance, and tinnitus. Increased pressure in the middle and inner ear are responsible for these symptoms.

Why do Allergies Impair 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 result of this release. Fluid buildup in the inner ear is a less known symptom. The fluid blocks the allergen from going deeper into your ear canal. This fluid creates pressure that can lead to tinnitus, trouble hearing, and even loss of balance as your equilibrium is disrupted.

Treatment For Hearing Loss Caused by Allergies

Allergies can be managed in several different ways. Most people begin with over-the-counter products like Zyrtec, Claritin, and Allegra. Minor cases can be successfully managed within a couple of days and initial relief typically begins after the first dose. Extended use of these medicines is also safe. Other allergy medication can be used short term but aren’t recommended as a long term solution because of their possible side effects, these medications include Sudafed, Afrin, and Benadryl.

There are also natural approaches that can be utilized by themselves or combined with over-the-counter remedies. A Neti pot or saline solutions are some examples. In some situations, even a simple hot shower can lead to improvement, especially when combined with a vapor tablet. Environmental changes, such as routinely washing fabrics with hot water, using a damp cloth to minimize dust on surfaces, and running an air purifier can also go a long way. Be certain that you bathe your pets 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 enough. When none of these methods help over the course of several weeks professional assistance may be needed. An allergist will decide if you are a good fit for allergy shots. Every week for about six months a shot will be given in increasing dosages then the shots will be reduced to one every month. Small amounts of the allergen will be released into your system allowing your body to slowly learn how to deal with it. This therapy does require a long-term commitment of up to five years, however, patients often feel relief beginning at about eight months.

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