The functions of your ears are intertwined with many other parts of the body, which is why the symptoms associated with seasonal allergies can impact your hearing.
How allergies can impact your hearing
If you suffer from allergies you’re most likely accustomed to dealing with a runny nose, congestion, and red, itchy eyes when the pollen begins to spread. But what you may not be prepared for is for those same allergens to affect your hearing.
Hearing experts believe that the histamines produced by exposure to allergens can also cause conductive hearing loss. Conductive hearing loss is a type of hearing loss that is caused by a blockage that inhibits sound waves from traveling through the ear canal and middle ear structures. In cases of seasonal allergies, it usually results from a buildup of excess mucus.
Various types of allergy-related hearing loss
All three sections of the ear can be impacted by allergies. The outer ear is susceptible to many different types of allergens, including common household products, plastics, latex, certain fabrics, and pet hair. Swelling of the outer ear caused by these allergens can lead to temporary hearing impairment. Seasonal allergies rarely cause the ear canal to swell, but allergic reactions to foreign objects or chemicals may.
Allergy-related swelling can also block the middle ear, which often leads to a buildup of fluid and creates conditions that are conducive to bacterial growth. Allergies may also worsen hearing loss for people with Meniere’s Disease, which is a condition caused by abnormal pressure in the fluid chambers of the inner ear.
What allergy sufferers can do to safeguard their hearing
If you suffer from seasonal allergies, you can take certain precautions to help protect your ears from the symptoms of allergic reactions. Do your best to limit your time outdoors when it’s especially dry and windy, when pollen is most likely to spread. Also, be sure to clean your ears gently with a damp cloth, and never stick swabs or other objects into your ear canal.
Most allergy-induced hearing loss is temporary, but if it persists or you experience pain in your ears you should seek treatment from a physician. Hearing professionals offer a full range of hearing evaluations and customized hearing aids designed to improve and protect your hearing. Schedule a consultation with one of our hearing experts now to learn more about how you can improve your quality of life through better hearing.