HEARING TIPS

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

Depending on where you’re located, allergy season can be all year long. Allergies can range from mild to acute and can be caused by anything from pet dander to pollen. The first and most common indications that you are suffering from allergies are usually itchy eyes and a runny nose.

However, some will experience enhanced symptoms such as hearing loss, poor balance, and tinnitus. Added pressure in the inner and middle ear are responsible for these symptoms.

Why is Your Hearing Impacted by Allergies?

When your body senses an environmental allergen it reacts by discharging a chemical called histamine. The familiar itchy eyes and runny nose are the outcomes 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. The resulting pressure can result in issues with your equilibrium leading to a blocked ear, difficulty hearing, and balance issues.

How to Manage This Allergy-Related Hearing Loss

There are many ways to deal with the symptoms of allergies. The majority of people begin with over-the-counter medicines like Claritin, Zyrtec, and Allegra. These products are used to treat mild cases and can begin working in as little as one dose with the full effect appearing after a few days of use. Long term use of these products is also safe. Others, like Benadryl, Sudafed, and Afrin, can be used temporarily for relief, but are not recommended for extended 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 in some cases even be used by themselves. These include saline sprays or a Neti pot. A vapor tablet, in some scenarios, when used in a hot shower can be really helpful also. You can also take steps to change your environment including getting an air purifier, wiping dust off surfaces with a damp cloth, and washing your fabrics in hot water every two weeks. If you have pets and have trouble with pet dander, make sure you bathe your pet frequently.

If None of These Help

For some people over-the-counter and natural remedies won’t be sufficient. When none of these methods help over the course of a few weeks professional assistance might be needed. An allergist will figure out 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 reduced to one every month. Small amounts of the allergen will be released into your system letting your body gradually learn how to deal with it. Though it only takes around eight months for patients to experience some relief, this treatment will require a long term commitment of up to 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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