Can Allergies Cause Hearing Loss?
A question our audiologist often hears in the springtime is, “Can my allergies affect my hearing?”
Many people doubt themselves, as allergy season is a pretty miserable time, it can feel like they are just blaming everything on what is currently making them uncomfortable. But, if you are someone who struggles with allergies, seasonal or otherwise, you may be surprised to know that hearing loss can be triggered by your allergies!
How Allergies Can Trigger Hearing Loss And Tinnitus
When it comes to allergies and hearing loss, generally, temporary conductive hearing loss is the result. The impact of allergies is due to how your immune system reacts to allergens.
As the immune system senses allergens, it creates antibodies which release histamine. As the histamine is released, you have an allergic response with all the attendant discomfort such as sneezing, greater mucus production, congestion, itching, and swelling.
These various factors can contribute to conductive hearing loss, as the mucus buildup can cause an excess of fluid, which can distort sound waves traveling through your ear. Also, as your ability to hear decreases, even temporarily, you can become aware of your tinnitus.
Areas Where Hearing Loss Can Be Allergies-Induced
There are different areas where your hearing can be impacted by allergies-induced hearing loss. Depending on how your allergies affect your body, these areas can be affected:
- Outer ear – Your outer ear can experience an allergic reaction either due to a regular allergen such as a pet or metal or due to seasonal allergies. If the swelling is severe enough, it may cause blockage in your ear canal. Also, your allergies may prompt your ear to produce more earwax to help protect you, causing sound blockage due to excess earwax.
- Middle ear – If you experience swelling around your Eustachian tube, you may have a good deal of fluid buildup in your middle ear. Not only is it uncomfortable, but it can lead to bacteria breeding in your ear and leading to a painful ear infection.
- Inner ear – While allergies are typically an issue that causes conductive hearing loss issues, the inner ear can be affected. However, it generally won’t be an issue unless you also have Meniere’s disease as it can trigger a greater pressure build up and lead to an attack of vertigo.
While there can be swelling and itching in and around your ears when you are experiencing an allergic reaction, it is essential that you don’t use a cotton swab in your ear to deal with it. Instead, you can take a washcloth that has been wet down with warm water and gently wash your ears. Do your best to keep water from entering your ear, as it can add to your discomfort.
Take Care Of Your Hearing Aids During Allergy Season
For those who already have hearing aids, you may want to take particular care with them during allergy season. The delicate devices can become clogged up with the excess pollen and allergens floating around.
While our audiologist normally recommends that you regularly clean your hearing aids, it is a good idea to clean them thoroughly often if you are experiencing an allergic reaction. Some areas where you may want to take particular care are:
- The microphone and receiver, to ensure they are free of any debris
- Change the wax guard to keep earwax buildup down
- Alternate the microphone covers
- Clean around the battery doors and contacts0
Let Echo Hearing Center Help With Your Allergy-Induced Hearing Issues
If you are struggling with allergy-induced hearing loss in the Denver area, come visit us at Echo Hearing Center. Our audiologist can provide you with a number of services to help with your discomfort, such as:
- Professional hearing aid cleaning
- Hearing examination
- Earwax removal
- Tinnitus treatment
To work with our audiologist to correct your hearing issues, contact us. Our audiologist will be happy to help identify your hearing loss needs and find the right hearing solutions for you.