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 minor annoyance to a daily battle that affects your quality of life. The first and most familiar signs that you are suffering from allergies are commonly a runny nose and itchy eyes.

But some will undergo enhanced symptoms such as loss of hearing, bad balance, and tinnitus. Increased pressure in the inner and middle ear are responsible for these symptoms.

Why is Your Hearing Affected by Allergies?

Your body releases a chemical called histamine when it senses an environmental allergen. This release leads to the familiar sniffles and itchy eye symptoms of allergies. Fluid buildup in the inner ear is a less known symptom. The fluid stops the allergen from going further into your ear canal. The resulting pressure can result in issues with your equilibrium leading to a blocked ear, trouble hearing, and balance issues.

How to Treat This Allergy-Related Hearing Loss

Allergies can be treated in several different ways. Most people begin with over-the-counter medicines like Claritin, Zyrtec, and Allegra. These medicines are used to manage mild cases and can begin working in as little as one dose with the maximum effect manifesting after a few days of use. Long term use of these medicines is also safe. Other allergy medication can be used temporarily 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 solutions that can be utilized by themselves or in combination with over-the-counter medications. Saline solutions or a Neti pot are some examples. In some cases, even an ordinary 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, cleaning dust off surfaces with a damp cloth, and washing your fabrics in hot water every couple of weeks. Be certain that you bathe your pets routinely if you have any and try to feed them dander control pet food if you’re allergic to them.

When Nothing Else Helps

Over-the-counter and natural remedies may not work in some cases. When none of these methods help over the course of a few weeks professional assistance might be required. An allergist will determine if you are a good fit for allergy shots. Every week for around six months a shot will be given in increasing dosages then the shots will be decreased to one every 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. Even though it only takes around eight months for patients to feel some relief, this therapy will demand a long term commitment of as much as five years.

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

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