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Allergies and Hearing Loss

field of yellow flowers on bright sunny day

Allergy season can bring all kinds of symptoms with it. From streaming eyes to running noses, it's not pleasant dealing with the effects of allergies.

Most common allergy symptoms can be easy to treat or deal with, but what happens if you suffer something more unusual like hearing loss? While hearing loss can be caused by a number of different factors, it can be caused by allergies, impacting your hearing and making things very uncomfortable for you.

Find out more about allergies and hearing loss and when to seek some professional help.

Can allergies cause hearing loss?

Allergic rhinitis is a common type of allergy that's better known as hay fever to most people. It's caused by the pollen produced by different plants and flowers and affects people in different ways.

An allergic reaction can lead to the production of a compound called histamine. Histamine can cause many symptoms that are similar to a cold virus – running nose, sneezing, itchy and watering eyes, and the feeling of pressure in the ear. When excess mucus is produced in response to the allergy, sinuses can become blocked, which can affect your hearing.

If you already experience hearing loss, allergic rhinitis can heighten your symptoms, including conditions like tinnitus – a ringing in the ear.

While dealing with allergy-related hearing loss can be daunting, most of the effects are temporary and could be managed with the help of antihistamines or medication recommended by your doctor or pharmacist.

The three types of allergy-based hearing loss

There are three main reasons behind allergy-related hearing loss: tinnitus, conductive-related hearing loss and fullness.

Tinnitus

Tinnitus creates a ringing in the ear, and many people suffer from tinnitus for various reasons, including allergy-related causes. If tinnitus is a persistent symptom alongside other allergy symptoms, you should consider speaking to an audiologist for advice.

Conductive-related hearing loss

When sound cannot reach the middle ear due to blockages, this can cause conductive-related hearing loss. If there is a buildup of fluid or a buildup of earwax, this can cause hearing loss, and it could appear suddenly or build up over time.

Conductive-related hearing loss is usually treatable once the cause has been removed. However, if you experience persistent symptoms or you're concerned about the severity of hearing loss, you should make an appointment for testing with a hearing specialist.

Fullness

A buildup of fluid can cause a feeling of fullness in the ear. You may feel that your ears feel clogged or experience pressure. It can be an uncomfortable feeling that also makes it difficult to hear. These symptoms will ease in time alongside your other symptoms. If your symptoms persist or you begin to experience pain, you should consult your doctor to ensure you don't have an ear infection. 

Hearing aids and allergies

If you use a hearing aid, you could find the performance of your hearing aid isn't as effective during allergy season. This could be due to allergens clogging your hearing aid and making it difficult for you to hear. Regular cleaning and maintenance of your hearing aid will help it maintain performance, helping your hearing aid last longer.

If you are suffering a reaction to the hearing aid itself, you may need to consult your audiologist to discuss an alternative hearing aid. There could be multiple causes of irritation, including trapped water, dry skin, or an allergy to the hearing aid material.

Making it through allergy season

While it may be uncomfortable and frustrating, it's important to remember that hearing loss caused by allergies will ease in time. You can find ways of managing your symptoms or consider a test with an audiologist to establish if there are other causes behind your hearing loss. Your doctor may also be able to recommend some medication to help ease symptoms such as congestion, while a pharmacist will stock hay fever medication that you can buy over the counter.

Experiencing allergy-related hearing loss is something that you may only experience once, or it could be a common allergy symptom for you. If you're concerned at all about hearing loss, make an appointment to have some hearing tests that can help make sure your hearing is as it should be. Learn more about ENT Physicians Inc. or call 419-776-5028 today to make an appointment.