Allergy season is almost here. If you suffer from terrible seasonal allergies, you might already begin to have flashbacks of last year’s experiences. One particular symptom you might remember is discomfort in the ears. This might have prompted you to wonder how allergies affect your ears, if at all. The nasal passage and throat are connected, which can certainly cause problems in one area to affect the other.
Why Ears Are Sometimes Affected
The ear can be divided into three main sections: the inner ear, middle ear, and outer ear. Allergies can affect each area in varying degrees. It is also not uncommon to experience different symptoms throughout the season or from year to year.
One common ear-related symptom some people experience is an itchy outer ear. The ear might even swell and turn red. This happens when the outer ear has an adverse reaction to the presence of pollen or other irritants.
Discomfort in the middle ear can happen when mucus build-up affects pressure in the ears and makes drainage difficult or impossible. This can cause pressure to build up, which can lead to discomfort and pain. It can often cause itchiness, as well. Middle ear infections are fairly common among children while their immune systems are developing.
The worst discomfort and pain arises if your inner ear becomes involved. Your ear plays an important role in your ability to maintain balance and equilibrium. So, disturbances in this region could lead to nausea, dizziness, and loss of balance. Some people might even experience temporary hearing loss.
Sometimes, your ear-related symptoms might not have started in the ear. Instead, congestion can build up pressure that radiates to the ears and cause pain and discomfort. This is why it’s so important for people not to self-diagnose and self-medicate by using drops in the ears without a doctor’s directions.
How Allergies Can Lead To Meniere’s Disease
Meniere’s disease can cause a feeling of pressure in the ear. It often affects only one ear and can result in a ringing sensation, known as tinnitus. Interestingly enough, tinnitus is most common among people who worked in loud environments, such as military personnel and construction workers. It results from damage to the ears and partial hearing loss. In these cases, the ringing in the ear is permanent and may worsen over time.
When your ears become affected by allergies, it can have a similar effect on the ears. These instances of ringing in the ear are temporary and correlate with allergies. Seasonal allergies are not the only culprits; food allergies can cause this too. Some people who suffer from Meniere’s disease have experienced relief by using allergy immunotherapy.
Why You Suffer Allergic Reactions
Some people can run through a field of blossom-laden trees and flowers and never utter a cough or sneeze. For others, spring blossoms and other allergens can provoke a wide range of cold-like symptoms. The varying reactions to allergens come down to your immune system and how it sees these allergens.
Some people’s immune systems, see the beautiful spring blossoms as a threat when it enters the body through inhalation or contact with the eyes. This then leads to the production of antibodies, which produce histamine. This is why the primary way to treat allergies is to take anti-histamines.
How Allergy Medication Helps
The good news is there are several options you can get over the counter to meet your allergy needs. Some of these might require proactive use, such as taking them before you begin to experience any symptoms. The most common over-the-counter options include antihistamines and decongestants.
If your allergies include earaches or ear infections, you might need additional medication. For some people, pain medication can do wonders. If you prefer not to medicate your ear pain, consider using a warm washcloth.
When symptoms persist or become severe, your doctor may prescribe stronger medication. For example, there are some ear drops that may reduce the feeling of pressure build-up in the ear and reduce the pain. If your doctor determines you have an ear infection, he or she might also prescribe antibiotics.
How To Prepare for Allergy Season
If you experience seasonal allergies, don’t wait until you begin to experience symptoms to seek help. By getting a headstart on your allergies, you are in the best position to reduce them before they spiral into pain. In some cases, you might prevent them altogether.
As allergy season progresses, if you experience new symptoms, your ear doctor can modify your treatment plan accordingly. A proactive approach is especially important if you work outdoors or if the symptoms are so bad that they interfere with your ability to live a normal life.
If you still have questions about how allergies affect your ears, feel free to contact Happy Ears Hearing Center. Start by finding a location near you. We look forward to taking care of you and your family.