HEARING TIPS

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

The entire year is allergy season in some places. From pet dander to pollen, allergies can range from a slight inconvenience to a daily struggle that affects your quality of life. Itchy eyes and a runny nose are the symptoms people are most familiar with and can be the first indication that you’re experiencing allergies.

However, some will undergo enhanced symptoms like hearing loss, poor balance, and tinnitus. These symptoms happen because of increased pressure in your inner and middle ear.

Why do Allergies Impact Your Hearing?

When your body detects an environmental allergen it reacts by expelling a chemical called histamine. This release leads to the familiar sniffles and itchy eye symptoms of allergies. One less common symptom is fluid build up in your inner and middle ear. This is how your body stops the allergen from getting deeper into your ear canal. The resulting pressure can cause problems with your equilibrium leading to a blocked ear, difficulty hearing, and balance issues.

Treatment Solutions For Hearing Loss Caused by Allergies

Allergies can be managed in many different ways. The majority of people begin with over-the-counter medicines like Claritin, Zyrtec, and Allegra. Mild cases can be successfully managed within a couple of days and initial relief normally begins after the first dose. These products are also safe for continued long term use if needed. Other allergy medication can be used short term but aren’t suggested as a long term solution because of their potential side effects, these medications include Sudafed, Afrin, and Benadryl.

There are also natural solutions that can be used on their own or combined with over-the-counter medications. These include a Neti pot or saline sprays. In some cases, even an ordinary hot shower can lead to improvement, particularly when paired with a vapor tablet. You can also make changes to your environment such as purchasing an air purifier, cleaning dust off surfaces with a damp cloth, and washing your fabrics in hot water every couple of weeks. If you have pets and have trouble with pet dander, make sure you give your pets a bath frequently.

When Nothing Else Helps

For some individuals over-the-counter and natural remedies won’t be enough. When none of these approaches help over the course of a few weeks professional assistance may be needed. An allergist will figure out if you are a good candidate for allergy shots. These shots will be given in slowly increasing dosages once a week for up to six months before changing to a shot once a month. These shots work by releasing a small amount of allergen into your system which allows your body to learn how to cope with it. This approach does require a long-term commitment of up to five years, however, patients tend to feel relief beginning at about eight months.

If none of the above strategies deliver 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.

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