Although many people don’t think about allergies affecting the ears, they can indeed lead to temporary hearing loss, tinnitus (ringing in the ears) and pressure.
When the body is exposed to allergens in foods, drugs, pollen, weeds and other substances, it produces antibodies. In turn, these antibodies release histamine – which can cause certain allergic reactions including sinus congestion, runny nose and itchy eyes.
Hearing Associates in Mason City, Iowa – with outreach clinics throughout northern Iowa and Albert Lea, Minnesota – reminds you of the ways allergies can cause hearing loss and what you can do about it.
Seasonal allergies can impact all parts of the ear:
The outer ear and ear canal may become inflamed or itchy due to seasonal allergies. Do not scratch the itch, however. You could infect the ear or do irreversible damage to the ear canal.
Here, fluid buildup can prevent the Eustachian tube – meant to release pressure in the ear – from doing its job. This makes the ears feel clogged, possibly along with some level of hearing loss. The middle ear is highly susceptible to infection and allergies, which can occur when a blocked Eustachian tube causes bacteria to sit in the ear.
The inner ear is rather resistant to allergies, although it’s the most delicate part of the ear. Still, problems in the outer and middle ear can damage nerve endings and bone structures in the inner ear. If they do occur, allergic symptoms here include tinnitus, pressure and dizziness. Allergies are possibly tied to Meniere’s disease, which includes all of these symptoms.
Over-the-counter drugs such as decongestants and antihistamines can usually reduce these symptoms for most seasonal allergy sufferers. The symptoms usually subside at the conclusion of the allergy season.
Don’t ignore signs that your hearing is being plagued by seasonal allergies, as hearing loss can detract from your overall health. For more information on services available at Hearing Associates, call us at 888.760.2032 or request an appointment.