allergies affect hearing loss

How do allergies affect hearing loss?

The season of allergies does not only cause desperate sneezing and selfless sniffling: this time period can be associated with abundant discharge not only from the nasal passages but also from the ears, which is fraught with pain and sometimes even temporary hearing loss. If you find it difficult to draw the line between temporary hearing impairment and full-fledged hearing loss, Focus Audiology will help you gain clarity regarding your situation.

Can allergies cause hearing loss?

The period of mass flowering of plants is traditionally a problematic time for allergy sufferers. The situation becomes much more complicated if a person already has a hearing disorder: congestion and discharge from the ears can further aggravate already imperfect hearing, turning this beautiful time of the year into incessant stress.

Allergy is an increased sensitivity of the immune system to certain substances (allergens), which is manifested by the abundant production of antibodies and the immunogenic compound histamine.

The result of exposure to allergens is known to everyone: nasal congestion, rhinorrhea, sneezing. However, few people know that allergies can also cause temporary conductive hearing loss.
For those who suffer from sensorineural hearing loss associated with damage to the ear’s sound-perceiving apparatus, this can lead to even greater hearing impairment, and sometimes to complete hearing loss. Conductive hearing loss also affects the performance of the hearing aid, reducing its ability to help you hear. Before determining the solution to your hearing loss, it is necessary to determine whether the hearing impairment is really related to allergies, or whether it is a sign of a more serious pathological condition.

How to distinguish allergic hearing loss from sensorineural hearing loss

A hearing test performed during allergy season may reveal that the cause of your hearing loss to be temporary and seasonal in nature. But if after this period your hearing has not returned to normal, then the root of the problems may be deeper than temporary conductive hearing loss. The only one who can competently answer this question is an audiologist or an ENT physician.
Hearing loss of allergic origin may be complemented by:

  • Dizziness.
  • Ears congestion.
  • Painful sensations.

Often, this type of hearing loss is one-sided. When the position of the head changes, the allergic exudate filling the ear canal will also shift, which can aggravate the pain and change the acuity of hearing.
In contrast to “seasonal” hearing loss, persistent sensorineural hearing loss is characterized by selective impairment of auditory perception when certain sounds, for example, soft noises or high-frequency sounds, are presented. In turn, temporary conductive hearing loss is associated with a mechanical blockade of the sound signal, which is manifested by tinnitus (ringing in the ears) and a deterioration in general sound perception.

How to fix temporary hearing loss

If you have never faced such a problem, then temporary hearing loss, albeit temporary, can bring a lot of unpleasant emotions. Fortunately, in most cases, hearing loss of allergic origin goes away rather quickly – often immediately after the cessation of exposure to the allergen. It is often possible to normalize hearing with the help of drug therapy – ear drops and oral antiallergic drugs.
Conductive hearing loss due to an allergic reaction feels like someone has plugged earplugs into your ears. If this condition gives you severe discomfort, see your doctor: he or she will recommend medications that will help eliminate congestion in the ears.

During this period, it is important to avoid introducing foreign objects into the auditory canal – in-ear headphones, cotton swabs, etc.: they can aggravate ear congestion, and increase pain and discomfort. Also, if you are already a hearing aid user, be sure to avoid using the hearing aid at full power if you normally do not: as the allergic exudate dissolves, excessively loud sounds from the hearing aid can damage the eardrum.

References

Debbie Clason, Can allergies cause hearing loss? 2017.
Retrieved from: https://www.healthyhearing.com/report/51352-Can-allergies-cause-hearing loss#:~:text=ears%20and%20hearing.-,Allergies%20and%20hearing%20loss,can%20cause%20conductive%20hearing%20loss.

Stacy Sampson, D.O., Scott Frothingham, Allergies and Ear Pain. 2019.
Retrieved from: https://www.healthline.com/health/allergies-ear-pain

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