Your Hearing Can be Affected by Environmental Allergies

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

All year is allergy season in some places. Allergies can range from mild to extreme and can be triggered by everything from pollen to pet dander. The first and most common signs that you are suffering from allergies are normally a runny nose and itchy eyes.

But more pronounced symptoms, like tinnitus, bad balance, and hearing loss sometimes happen. Added pressure in the middle and inner ear is the reason for these symptoms.

Why do Allergies Impact Your Hearing?

Your body produces a chemical called histamine when it senses an environmental allergen. The common itchy eyes and runny nose are the result of this release. Fluid buildup in the inner ear is a less known symptom. This is how your body stops the allergen from working its way deeper into your ear canal. This fluid produces pressure that can trigger tinnitus, problems hearing, and even loss of balance as your equilibrium is disrupted.

How to Treat This Allergy-Related Hearing Loss

There are numerous ways to deal with the symptoms of allergies. Over-the-counter medications such as Claritin, Zyrtec, and Allegra are normally the first solution. Mild cases can be effectively treated within a couple of days and initial relief usually starts after the first dose. These products are also safe for extended long term use if needed. Others, like Benadryl, Sudafed, and Afrin, can be used short term for relief, but are not recommended for long term use because they can lead to undesirable side effects.

You can also combine over-the-counter medications with natural treatments or the natural remedies can sometimes even be utilized by themselves. A Neti pot or saline solutions are some examples. A vapor tablet, in certain situations, when used in a hot shower can be very helpful also. Environmental changes, including regularly washing fabrics in hot water, using a damp cloth to reduce dust on surfaces, and using an air purifier can also go a long way. Be certain that 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. If you’ve tried these solutions over the course of a few weeks and you aren’t experiencing any relief it may be time to seek professional advice. To find out if you need an allergy shot, you will have to go see an allergist. These shots will be given in slowly increasing doses once a week for up to six months before changing to a shot once a month. These shots work by introducing a small amount of allergen into your system which allows your body to learn how to deal with it. This approach does require a long-term commitment of up to five years, however, patients often feel relief starting at around eight months.

If you still have pressure in your ears and none of these strategies help, it’s time to have a hearing exam.

The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.

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    Dr. Laura Padham, Audiologist

    Ocean Gate, NJ

    143 W Barnegat Avenue
    Ocean Gate, NJ 08740

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