HEARING TIPS

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

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

But more advanced symptoms, including tinnitus, bad balance, and hearing loss often happen. Added pressure in the middle and inner ear is the reason for these symptoms.

Why is Your Hearing Affected by Allergies?

When your body detects an environmental allergen it reacts by expelling a chemical called histamine. This release causes the familiar sniffles and itchy eye symptoms of allergies. Fluid buildup in the inner ear is a less common symptom. This is how your body stops 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.

How to Manage This Allergy-Related Hearing Loss

There are numerous ways to treat the symptoms of allergies. Most people start with over-the-counter products such as Claritin, Zyrtec, and Allegra. Mild cases can be successfully managed within a couple of days and initial relief normally begins after the first dose. These products are also safe for extended long term use if need be. Other allergy medication can be used temporarily but aren’t suggested as a long term strategy because of their possible side effects, these medications include Sudafed, Afrin, and Benadryl.

There are also natural approaches that can be utilized on their own or combined with over-the-counter medications. These include a Neti pot or saline sprays. A vapor tablet, in some situations, when used in a hot shower can be really helpful as well. Environmental changes, like regularly washing fabrics with hot water, using a damp cloth to minimize dust on surfaces, and running an air purifier can also significantly help. 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.

If None of These Help

For some individuals over-the-counter and natural treatments won’t be sufficient. If you’ve tried these solutions over the course of several weeks and you aren’t having any relief it might be time to seek professional advice. An allergist will determine if you are a good candidate for allergy shots. These shots will be given in slowly increasing dosages once a week for up to six months before changing to a monthly shot. Small amounts of the allergen will be released into your system letting your body slowly learn how to deal with it. Although it only takes around eight months for patients to experience some relief, this therapy will demand 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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