A large bouquet of flowers, or blooming bushes in your front yard … these are welcome signs of spring. They also indicate the arrival of another well-known time period – allergy season! As pretty as they are, spring flowers can wreak havoc in the lives of people with seasonal allergies. Common symptoms include itchy eyes, a runny nose, pressure, and even hearing loss.
Allergies and hearing loss: what’s the connection?
On the surface, allergies and hearing loss may not appear to be related at all. When you look a little deeper, however, the connection between the two actually makes sense.
Allergies can cause swelling of the skin inside the ears. This may cause itchiness, but also affect your hearing. Additionally, fluid buildup within the ears is a common side effect of allergies. Even if it does not get infected, it can act as a sound blocker, preventing sound from reaching the inner ear and negatively affecting hearing. This is known as conductive hearing loss.
Is allergy-related hearing loss permanent?
Fortunately, most hearing changes that occur due to allergies are temporary. Since the hearing loss is often caused by swelling or fluid buildup, hearing usually returns to normal when those symptoms are gone. This might occur naturally if the allergies are only seasonal and subside on their own. Or, allergy symptoms can be managed through over-the-counter drugs or medications prescribed by your physician. Left untreated, however, there is the possibility that allergies and hearing loss could be a permanent fixture in your life. For example, if allergy-related fluid buildup in the ears becomes infected, and happens repeatedly, permanent hearing damage could occur.
Allergies vs. sudden sensorineural hearing loss
Allergy-related hearing loss often comes on suddenly and without much warning. Therefore, it can sometimes be difficult to determine whether the hearing change is caused by allergies or some other factor.
Other hearing conditions such as sudden sensorineural hearing loss (SSHL) or single-sided deafness (SSD) can present with similar symptoms – rapid hearing deterioration, dizziness, ear pressure, or even tinnitus. It’s important to not ignore any signs or symptoms of hearing loss.
Seek professional hearing help
Hearing impairments do not respond well to DIY diagnosis. Instead, schedule an appointment with your audiologist as soon as possible if you notice any hearing changes. A thorough hearing evaluation typically reveals the cause of hearing loss. Then, an appropriate treatment plan can be prescribed and you’ll be on your way to better hearing before you know it. It’s just not worth it to leave allergies and hearing loss untreated!
Source: Hear Well-Live Well Blog