Allergies and Hearing Loss
The immune system responds to allergies by producing antibodies that release the compound histamine. Histamine causes itchy eyes, sneezing, and a runny nose – essentially, hay fever. This excess mucus production can obstruct the Eustachian tube, which is the drainage passage for the middle ear. The middle ear amplifies and transfers sound from the outer ear to the inner ear. Therefore, any inflammation or blockage in this area can interfere with your sense of hearing and/or cause an ear infection.
Types of Allergy-Related Hearing Issues
Fullness: Excess fluid in the ear creates pressure or a clogged feeling in the ear. The fluid presses against the eardrum, causing discomfort and making it more difficult to hear. In most cases, this discomfort will dissipate with time. However, if you are experiencing any pain, this could be a symptom of an ear infection, and you should seek medical attention immediately.
Conductive Hearing Loss: Conductive hearing loss occurs when sound waves cannot properly flow through the ear and into the tiny bones of the middle ear. Excess fluid or ear wax may interfere with sound as it travels to the cochlea. Although conductive hearing loss is curable and may improve naturally, it is difficult to determine if hearing loss is temporary, curable, or permanent without thorough testing. If you experience sudden or noticeable hearing loss, schedule an appointment with a hearing specialist right away. The longer you wait, the more difficult it may be to treat – and you don’t want to reach the point of no return. This is your hearing we’re talking about, after all!
Tinnitus: Allergy-related tinnitus occurs when tinnitus only develops alongside other allergy symptoms. If you suffer from tinnitus for several months of the year due to allergies, contact Center for Hearing for help.
When to See a Hearing Specialist
Worsening Tinnitus: Some people who experience mild irritation or annoyance due to tinnitus find that the ringing or high-pitched sound worsens with allergies. Unremitting tinnitus can interfere with your ability to hear, your mood, your sleep, and your quality of life. If you or someone you know suffers from tinnitus, don’t give up hope. We can help!