If you’ve never experienced a hearing loss, sudden loss of hearing can be a concerning event. Excessive noise can at times cause temporary hearing impairment, or symptoms such as a roaring or ringing. Any sudden hearing loss is an emergency, and you should discuss with your healthcare practitioner as soon as possible. What you may not be aware of though, is that allergies can cause hearing loss.
Millions of people are affected by allergy season each year. Typical symptoms will often include itching, red eyes, stuffy noses, and in some cases difficulty breathing or other respiratory issues.
An allergic response is our body’s way of responding to a perceived threat. In an individual with allergies, their immune system is exhibiting a hypersensitive response to something that doesn’t affect many of us. Some individuals who are experiencing a severe allergic response may not even realize that it has affected their hearing. So how can allergies cause hearing loss?
Congestion and swelling of the sinuses are the most common symptoms of an allergy. If an allergen is introduced to our ears, or makes it as deep as the ear canals, the resulting irritation and inflammation can create a build-up of pressure and fluid. In this case, the body’s response to an allergen inhibits soundwaves from entering our inner ear, causing a loss of hearing.
When allergy season hits, there are 3 main types of hearing loss that are associated with allergies:
Inner Ear – Inner ear issues related to allergies are relatively uncommon, as your body has natural defenses in place to prevent foreign objects or allergens from getting into your inner ear. Symptoms of hearing loss related to your inner are are generally the result of your body attempting to keep allergens from entering.
Middle Ear – Your inner ear is made up of many small tubes and openings. If allergens affect your middle ear, this can result in a sense of fullness. Fluid buildup and potential blockages may lead to an ear infection, which can also have an affect on your balance.
Outer Ear – Itching and irritation are common issues you may experience in your outer ear related to allergies. This is one itch you should try to avoid scratching though, as it could lead to infection and may damage the ear structure.
If you suspect that allergy season is affecting your hearing, come in and meet the hearing care professionals at Audiology Associates of Greeley. In particular, if wear hearing aids and would like to discuss how allergies may impact your device’s ability to function, we’d be happy to help. Please call 970-352-288 to arrange your next consultation, or click here to request an appointment online.