Spring, Allergies and Hearing Loss

Spring, Allergies and Hearing Loss

In spite of the unseasonably cool weather in many parts of the country, spring is here and allergy season has begun.  Millions of Americans suffer from allergies and late March/early April typically means the start of a runny nose, watery eyes, sneezing and other miserable allergy symptoms.

Allergy is the term used to describe an over-reaction of the body to a substance that is normally harmless to most people. This substance is called an allergen, and one can be exposed to it in several ways. It may be breathed into the respiratory system, eaten, or touched by the skin to cause symptoms. Often, people inherit a tendency to develop allergies.

Vox recently noted that last year’s allergy season was reported as one of the worst ever. Allergy season has become so predictably terrible that late-night comedians have taken to venting about warnings of the “pollen tsunami” ad “pollen vortex” or a “perfect storm for allergies.”

It turns out there’s truth behind the bombast. The number of people with allergies is increasing, for a variety of reasons. Andd one key factor is global warming, which is linked to higher concentrations of pollen in the air and longer allergy seasons.

Allergy and the Ears

So, is it possible to have a problem related to allergies in the outer, middle or inner part of your ear?  The symptoms will vary from person to person and will be dependent on the part of the ear that is the most impacted by the allergen.  For example, blocked sinuses caused by colds, sinus infections, and allergies can cause a temporary, fluctuating hearing loss when the eustachian tube (the channel responsible for regulating ear pressure) is blocked.  It is possible for one ear to more effected than the other ear.

  • Outer Ear symptoms that may be attributed to allergy include chronic itching or frequent infections of the ear canal.
  • Middle Ear symptoms may include repeated ear infections and long-standing fluid behind the eardrum. Both of these are more common in children.
  • Inner Ear symptoms attributed to allergy may include dizziness, ear fullness, ear pressure and tinnitus.

What to Do?

If you’re having a problem hearing, get your hearing checked.  If we find a problem we can provide recommendations to help you solve the problem.