Hearing Services of Nashville

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

All year is allergy season in some locations. Allergies can range from minimal to acute and can be triggered by anything from pet dander to pollen. Runny nose and itchy eyes are the symptoms that are most familiar and can be the first indication that you’re suffering from allergies.

But more pronounced symptoms, such as tinnitus, poor balance, and hearing loss often happen. Increased pressure in the middle and inner ear is the reason for these symptoms.

Why do Allergies Affect Your Hearing?

Your body releases a chemical called histamine when it detects an environmental allergen. This release results in the familiar itchy eye symptoms and sniffles of allergies. Fluid buildup in the inner ear is a less common symptom. The fluid blocks the allergen from getting 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 affected.

Treatment For Hearing Loss Caused by Allergies

Allergies can be managed in many different ways. Over-the-counter medications like Zyrtec, Claritin, and Allegra are typically the first options. These products are used to manage mild cases and can start working in as little as one dose with the maximum effect appearing after a few days of use. Long term use of these medicines is also safe. Other allergy medication can be used short term but aren’t recommended as a long term strategy because of their potential side effects, these medications include Sudafed, Afrin, and Benadryl.

There are also natural solutions that can be used by themselves or in combination with over-the-counter remedies. A Neti pot or saline solutions are some examples. In some situations, even an ordinary hot shower can lead to improvement, particularly when combined with a vapor tablet. Environmental changes, like routinely washing fabrics in hot water, using a damp cloth to minimize dust on surfaces, and running an air purifier can also go a long way. If you have pets and have trouble with pet dander, make sure you give your pets a bath regularly.

When Nothing Else Works

For some people over-the-counter and natural treatments won’t be enough. If you’ve tried these solutions over the course of a few weeks and you’re not having any relief it might be time to get professional assistance. To figure out if you need an allergy shot, you will need to go see an allergist. 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 progressively learn how to manage it. This treatment does require a long-term commitment of up to five years, although, patients often experience relief starting at around eight months.

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

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