The connection between allergies and hearing

spring is in the air WW blog post graphic

Doug Larsen said, “Spring is when you feel like whistling, even with a shoe full of slush.”  For most of us, the end of winter means a deep sigh of relief. No more shoveling, scraping car windows or freezing commutes.

Once the snow melts and the days start to warm up, most of us look forward to airing out the house and getting outside! For many, it also means that allergies are just around the bend.

If you suffer from seasonal allergies, the pollen triggers watery eyes, runny nose and sneezing. But it can also create pressure in the ears, and in some cases hearing loss or tinnitus – or the worsening of existing tinnitus.

Excess fluid in the ear creates pressure, leaving us feeling clogged.  This fluid presses on our eardrums, causing discomfort and in some cases, making it more difficult to hear. In most cases, the discomfort goes away over time. However, if you experience pain, this could be a symptom of an ear infection, which necessitates medical attention.

Allergy-related tinnitus is a condition that some people experience; a ringing or high-pitched sound. For those who already suffer from tinnitus, the condition may worsen with seasonal allergies.  Tinnitus can interfere with your ability to hear clearly, your mood, sleep and quality of life.  If you, or someone you know, are suffering from tinnitus that isn’t allergy-related, there are possible solutions for relief that can be discussed with your hearing professional.

Hearing loss is another potential side effect of allergies. Conductive hearing loss occurs when sound waves can’t flow through the ear, and into the tiny bones of the middle ear. Excess fluid (or ear wax) may interfere with sounds. Conductive hearing loss may improve naturally, as the fluid subsides. It is difficult to determine whether hearing loss is temporary or permanent without a complete audiological test.

If you experience sudden or noticeable hearing loss, schedule an appointment with an audiologist right away. The longer you wait, the more difficult hearing loss is to treat and you don’t want to wait until there’s nothing that can be done.

Hearing is part of what makes life so precious, and you don’t want to miss a thing!