Allergies and Hearing Loss

Are you spending more time outdoors?  We have been experiencing a beautiful spring in the North Shore and (unfortunately) to many of our patients, Springtime means allergies.  There are more than 3 million cases of seasonal allergies in the U.S. every year.  Season allergy symptoms include: itchy, watery, eyes and a stuffy nose — and ears? Your senses are closely related, so while it’s not the first thing that comes to mind when we have allergies, your ears and hearing can be affected.

Allergies can cause a variety of discomfort in your ears like:

• Itching

• Swelling

• Fullness

• Dizziness or balance issues

How Are Hearing Loss and Allergies Related?

Allergens make your immune system produce antibodies that release histamine. Histamine produces an involuntary allergic response (like sneezing, itching, and congestion). This response increases your mucus production, which can cause conductive hearing loss. Conductive hearing loss is when sound waves are not able to travel through the middle ear. This blockage can be caused by fluid or earwax and is generally temporary.

There are three parts of your ear that can be affected by allergy symptoms: the outer ear, middle ear, and inner ear. Outer: Skin reactions can cause swelling and/or itching of the outer ear and ear canal. Middle: This is where fluid buildup can happen, causing earaches or ear pressure. When swelling stops your middle ear from draining, it gives your ear a full feeling. Besides being uncomfortable, it can also cause balance issues. Inner: Hearing can be temporarily impaired.

What Can You Do About It? As we said, conductive hearing loss is generally temporary. Once your symptoms subside, your hearing should return to normal. If you experience severe pain or a continuation of your symptoms, however, contact us today! We will be able to test and diagnose your hearing loss, as well as offer effective treatment solutions to get you back on track and enjoying the outdoors!

1. Mayo Clinic: https://www.google.com/webhp?sourceid=chromeinstant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF- 8#q=seasonal+allergy

2. https://www.pollen.com/map