With the official day of spring having just passed earlier this month, the end of Ontario’s snowfalls are now in sight. For some people, however, spring brings with it it’s own set of issues - it’s allergy season.
If you are affected by seasonal pollen allergies, you will be well aware of some of the symptoms such as itchy eyes, a runny nose, nasal congestion, sinus pressure and many more.
However, did you know that allergies can also cause hearing loss during these seasons?
Allergy symptoms can lead to a feeling of pressure in the ear and the sensation that the ear is clogged. For some people, this inflammation or buildup of fluid in the ear can lead to loss of hearing, cause pain, or create tinnitus symptoms - all of which can be an incredibly uncomfortable experience.
How do allergies affect the ear?
Allergies can affect different areas of the ear in different ways, so it’s important to always seek professional advice - from an expert such as York Hearing Clinic - if you are noticing any symptoms related to hearing loss.
Allergies usually affect two main areas of the ear:
Outer ear: The outer ear and ear canal can suffer from itching and swelling as a result of allergic skin reactions and dermal rash. Constant scratching and rubbing of the ears can cause outer swelling which can then cause blockages and the inability to hear clearly.
Inner ear: The body releases histamines which create swelling in the sinuses. This swelling can cause internal damage to the eustachian tube in the ear if liquids cannot properly drain, providing a perfect breeding ground for bacteria and subsequent infection. This fluid buildup may also trigger balance problems, such as vertigo, giving you a feeling of being dizzy and light headed. The majority of the time, this hearing loss, called conductive hearing loss, can be treated and reversed with medical intervention.
Allergies may also contribute to hearing loss for people who suffer from Meniere's disease.
What treatment options are available?
When suffering from hearing loss as a result of allergies, it is best to take antihistamines or other allergen medicine. By keeping the swelling down during an allergic reaction, you will lessen the possibility of long-term damage to the ear.
If your hearing loss doesn’t go away after the season is over, you might be suffering from a more serious problem. It’s important that you always consult a professional when you are unsure of your current hearing loss problems.
Many people discover that they have permanent hearing loss after visiting a professional hearing clinic for allergies. In some cases, the allergies aren’t actually causing the hearing loss, but they are exacerbating the person’s existing hearing loss.
How do allergies affect those already suffering from hearing loss?
For those who already suffer from hearing loss, congestion can exacerbate their symptoms and make it difficult to get through the season. Temporary conductive hearing loss can interfere with your hearing aids, meaning you should avoid using your hearing aids for prolonged periods to avoid worsening any blockages that you are experiencing.
If you already have hearing loss and use a hearing aid, it’s also important you don’t increase the volume during the period of time that you are suffering from allergies. Increasing the frequency on a hearing aid during the swelling of the ear canal can cause long-term damage to the ear, resulting in sensorineural hearing loss.
If you are already suffering from hearing loss, we advise that you keep a close eye on how you’re hearing during allergy season. If something begins to change, or you start struggling to make out certain sounds, schedule a visit with your local hearing clinic. They will be able to resolve your issue before it becomes more serious.
Want to learn more about how allergies can affect hearing loss, and find out whether you may be suffering from a more permanent hearing loss issue? Contact our team of experts today.