Geneva Hearing Services - Geneva, IL

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 inconvenience to a daily struggle that affects your quality of life. The first and most common signs that you are suffering from allergies are normally itchy eyes and a runny nose.

However, some will experience advanced symptoms like loss of hearing, bad balance, and tinnitus. Increased pressure in the middle and inner ear are responsible for these symptoms.

Why do Allergies Impair Your Hearing?

When your body senses an environmental allergen it reacts by expelling a chemical called histamine. This release causes the familiar sniffles and itchy eye symptoms of allergies. One less common symptom is fluid build up in your middle and inner ear. This is how your body stops the allergen from working its way deeper into your ear canal. This fluid produces pressure that can lead to tinnitus, problems hearing, and even loss of balance as your equilibrium is affected.

How to Manage This Allergy-Related Hearing Loss

There are lots of ways to deal with the symptoms of allergies. Over-the-counter medications like Zyrtec, Claritin, and Allegra are normally the first options. Mild cases can be successfully treated within a couple of days and initial relief typically starts after the first dose. These products are also safe for prolonged long term use if necessary. Other allergy medication can be used short term but aren’t recommended as a long term strategy because of their possible side effects, these medications include Sudafed, Afrin, and Benadryl.

You can also combine over-the-counter medications with natural treatments or the natural remedies can in some cases even be utilized by themselves. A Neti pot or saline solutions 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, wiping dust off surfaces with a damp cloth, and washing your fabrics with hot water every two weeks. Be sure you give your pets a bath routinely if you have any and try to feed them dander control pet food if you’re allergic to them.

Already Tried All That?

Over-the-counter and natural remedies might not work in some circumstances. If you’ve tried these solutions over the course of a few weeks and you’re not having any relief it could be time to get professional advice. To find out if you require an allergy shot, you will need to consult an allergist. Every week for about six months a shot will be given in increasing dosages then the shots will be reduced to once a month. Small amounts of the allergen will be introduced into your system letting your body gradually learn how to manage it. Though it only takes about eight months for patients to feel some relief, this treatment 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 get a hearing exam.

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