According to the calendar, it’s officially spring. Many people look forward to this time of year as a welcome reprieve from cooler wintertime temperatures. Plus, the birds are chirping, flowers are blooming, and colors are vibrant.
If you suffer from spring allergies, however, you may look forward to this season with dread. That’s because allergies wreak havoc on your eyes, nose, and throat, causing you to itch, sneeze, or cough throughout the day. You may even find that spring allergies affect your ears and possibly your hearing. Let’s take a look at why that is and also what can be done about it.
Why Spring Allergies Affect Your Ears
To see how and why your ears can be negatively impacted by seasonal allergies, let’s start at the beginning. According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, the term ‘allergy’ can be defined as “a chronic condition involving the abnormal reaction to an ordinarily harmless substance called an allergen.”
For many people, pollen is an allergen. With the increased pollen production by trees and flowers in the spring, it’s no wonder that this season has also come to be known as allergy season.
When people with allergies are exposed to an allergen such as pollen, their immune system produces antibodies which then release histamine. This then leads to increased mucus production and the typical allergy symptoms:
- Itchy eyes
- A stuffy nose
- Sinus congestion
- Increased sinus pressure
Since the sinuses, ears, nose, and throat are all connected, it’s not uncommon for spring allergies to affect your ears as well. Here’s what you may notice:
- In the outer ear: Pollen or other irritants could cause your ears to turn red, become itchy, or even swell.
- In the middle ear: Increased fluid build-up can cause an increase in ear pressure and could lead to discomfort, pain, or even a middle ear infection.
- In the inner ear: Increased fluid or pressure here can cause ear pain, discomfort, balance disturbances, dizziness, nausea, and sometimes even temporary hearing loss.
How to Protect Your Ears From the Effects of Seasonal Allergies
The truth is, no one enjoys any of the effects of allergies, but ear pain and discomfort can be especially bothersome. There are a few things you can do, however, to minimize the effect that spring allergies have on your ears. These include taking over-the-counter antihistamines or decongestants to reduce fluid build-up in your ears or sinuses. If your allergies are severe, you may require prescription allergy medication from your doctor or even antibiotics to treat an allergy-related ear infection.
The easiest and most effective way to keep spring allergies from affecting your ears is to prevent allergy symptoms altogether or at least manage them well with medication, exercise, or even diet. For example, certain foods such as watermelon and asparagus taste great, are nutritious, and can help prevent fluid retention.
Regardless of how your seasonal allergies affect you, it’s important to schedule an appointment with a healthcare professional as soon as possible if you experience any hearing changes. Yes, it could be just one way spring allergies affect your ears or it could be due to something more serious. Your audiologist or other medical practitioner will do a thorough evaluation to find the cause and then determine the best treatment method.
Now, with all of that said, it’s time to go out and enjoy all the sights, sounds, and smells of spring!
Source: Hear Well-Live Well Blog