For individuals who’ve led a life with optimal hearing, sudden hearing loss or impairment can be startling and concerning. Sometimes hearing problems like ringing or roaring can happen after someone is exposed to loud noises. Whether it’s a loud entertainment venue or occupational work exposure, abrupt onset of any hearing issues should cause anyone to look into the issue further. While things like exposure to loud noises or decrease in hearing due to age are common and sometimes expected, it may come as a surprise to know allergies can cause hearing loss. Knowing that abrupt onset hearing loss caused by allergies is more common than most people understand might be reassuring to people who are experiencing these issues.
Do Allergies Cause Hearing Loss?
Allergy season affects millions of people every year. While the typical symptoms include stuffy noses, itching, red eyes and sometimes respiratory issues, it’s important to understand how the body’s reaction to allergens can also impact hearing. It makes sense that one might question “do allergies cause hearing loss?!” as allergies and hearing impairment can seem unrelated.
Consider that allergic response to any allergen amps an individual’s body into a state of response. By definition, an allergy affects any person whose body has a hypersensitive response to something that is harmless to most people. Some people who experience severe allergy symptoms may not even notice that their hearing has been affected. Swelling and congestion are the most common symptoms of allergies, so when questioning how allergies and hearing loss can go hand in hand, it might be more relatable than we realize. When allergens are introduced to our ears, or even as far as the ear canals, inflammation and irritation can cause a build up of fluid and pressure, which means our body’s response ultimately impacts the sound waves entering our inner ear.
Impairments or hearing loss caused by allergies can be simply explained. The immune response our bodies have to allergens tend to make anyone impacted by them physically uncomfortable. Sometimes allergies can make someone so uncomfortable they don’t pay attention to a dimming of their normal hearing. An excess in mucus production can obstruct the Eustachian Tube, which happens to be the draining passage for the middle ear. The middle ear’s job is to amplify sound from the outer ear – if there is a build up of fluid or mucus, it will distort the sound you may hear.
Allergies and Hearing Loss – Causes and Symptoms
There are 3 major types of hearing loss related to allergies to be aware of when allergy season hits.
Inner Ear – Inner ear issues related to allergies are moderately uncommon. Your body has defenses in place to keep allergens out of your inner ear! Most symptoms present because your body is attempting to keep allergens from reaching your inner ear.
Middle Ear – Because there are so many small tubes and openings in the inner ear, a sense of fullness can be experienced when allergies affect your middle ear. This buildup of fluid and the potential for blockages can lead to ear infections. This can also impact your equilibrium and can cause balance issues.
Outer Ear – Issues like itching and irritation are common problems you may experience from allergies in regards to your outer ear. It’s important to note that scratching any irritations in on your outer ear can compound problems with your hearing. Scratching can lead to infection and other damage to the ear structure.
Allergies and Hearing Devices
When allergy season hits, consider that hearing loss caused by allergies can negatively impact people who utilize hearing devices. For the same reasons, swelling, congestion and fluid buildup can negatively impact how your devices function.
If you’d like to discuss further, come in and meet the team at Hearing Help Associates. We can check your device for any potential issues, and help advise on ways to reduce the impact of your allergies on your hearing. Please contact us to schedule an appointment with one of our hearing professionals today. We have 6 convenient audiology clinic locations for you in Long Island, NY: Babylon, Bayside, Bellmore, Great Neck, Jericho, and Rockville Centre.