Allergies and hearing loss aren’t usually used in the same sentence. However, because our bodies create histamines within our immune systems, the two are more closely related than one might think. Allergies such as dust, pollen and animal dander can cause issues within the ears. Conductive hearing loss may occur, but in most cases is, thankfully, temporary. Knowing the symptoms and treatment of hearing loss associated with allergies is vital to battling its side effects.
Signs and Symptoms
Histamines produce involuntary allergic responses. There are a variety of symptoms in the ear that could be indicative of this. They may include:
Any kind of dizziness or balance issues
Repetitive ear infections
How Hearing Loss Relates
These allergic responses increase your mucus production, which can, in turn, cause conductive hearing loss. This is when sound waves become unable to travel through the outer ear. Fluid or wax build-up can cause a blockage. The three parts of the ear that may be affected are:
Inner – Relatively resistant to allergic reactions, but individuals with inner ear disorders may experience temporary hearing impairment
Outer – The visible part of your ear, where skin reactions cause itching or swelling
Middle – This area is most vulnerable to allergies and where fluid build-up happens, causing pressure and earaches
Children’s ears are more delicate and susceptible to these reactions.
Hearing Aids and Allergies
If you wear hearing aids, you might be inclined to think that allergies won’t bother you. Even those who use hearing aids should be wary of allergens, however. Allergies can further inhibit your hearing, thus causing you to overcompensate and turn up the volume. This could cause damage and additional hearing loss. Allergens can clog or damage hearing aids, so it’s always a good idea to clean them regularly to prevent future problems.
If you notice any of these signs and symptoms, speak with your doctor or hearing aid professional. As previously stated, hearing loss is generally temporary, but it’s not a bad idea to double-check. Prescription antihistamines prevent allergies, and a doctor can look for infections or other underlying problems. If there’s a severe pain that persists, seek immediate attention.