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Audiology Specialty Clinic - Sioux Falls, SD

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

The entire year is allergy season in some locations. Allergies can range from minimal to extreme and can be triggered by anything from pet dander to pollen. Itchy eyes and a runny nose are the symptoms people are most familiar with and can be the first sign that you’re experiencing allergies.

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

Why is Your Hearing Impacted by Allergies?

Your body releases a chemical called histamine when it detects an environmental allergen. The common itchy eyes and runny nose are the outcomes of this release. Fluid buildup in the inner ear is a less known symptom. The fluid stops the allergen from getting deeper into your ear canal. This fluid creates pressure that can trigger tinnitus, trouble hearing, and even loss of balance as your equilibrium is disrupted.

How to Treat This Allergy-Related Hearing Loss

There are many ways to manage the symptoms of allergies. Over-the-counter medications such as Claritin, Zyrtec, and Allegra are typically the first options. Mild cases can be effectively managed within a couple of days and initial relief typically starts after the first dose. Long term use of these products is also safe. Other allergy medication can be used temporarily but aren’t suggested as a long term strategy because of their potential side effects, these medications include Sudafed, Afrin, and Benadryl.

You can also combine over-the-counter medications with natural solutions or the natural options can sometimes 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 as well. Environmental changes, like regularly washing fabrics in hot water, using a damp cloth to reduce dust on surfaces, and using an air purifier can also significantly help. Be sure you give your pets a bath regularly if you have any and try to feed them dander control pet food if you’re allergic to them.

When Nothing Else Helps

Over-the-counter and natural remedies may not work in some situations. If you’ve tried these methods over the course of a few weeks and you’re not experiencing any relief it might be time to get professional advice. To figure out if you need an allergy shot, you will have to go see an allergist. Every week for about six months a shot will be given in increasing doses then the shots will be decreased to one every month. Small amounts of the allergen will be released into your system allowing your body to gradually learn how to handle it. Though it only takes about 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 get a hearing exam.

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