Audiology Associates of North Florida - Tallahassee, FL

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

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

But some will experience advanced symptoms such as hearing loss, poor balance, and tinnitus. These symptoms happen because of added pressure in your inner and middle ear.

Why do Allergies Impair Your Hearing?

Your body releases a chemical called histamine when it detects 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 common symptom. The fluid blocks the allergen from getting deeper into your ear canal. This fluid produces pressure that can trigger tinnitus, problems hearing, and even loss of balance as your equilibrium is affected.

Treatment Solutions For Hearing Loss Caused by Allergies

Allergies can be treated in many different ways. The majority of people begin with over-the-counter products such as Zyrtec, Claritin, and Allegra. Minor cases can be successfully managed within a couple of days and initial relief normally starts after the first dose. These products are also safe for prolonged long term use if need be. Others, like Benadryl, Sudafed, and Afrin, can be used short term for relief, but are not suggested for long term use as they can result in unwanted side effects.

There are also natural solutions that can be utilized by themselves or in combination with over-the-counter remedies. Saline solutions or a Neti pot are some examples. A vapor tablet, in some situations, when used in a hot shower can be really helpful also. You can also take steps to change your environment including 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 regularly.

When Nothing Else Helps

For some individuals over-the-counter and natural treatments won’t be sufficient. When none of these methods help over the course of a few weeks professional help might be needed. To figure out if you require an allergy shot, you will need to consult an allergist. Every week for around six months a shot will be given in increasing dosages then the shots will be decreased to once a month. These shots work by introducing a small amount of allergen into your system which enables your body to learn how to deal with it. This therapy does require a long-term commitment of up to five years, however, patients often experience relief beginning at around 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 checked.

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