Seasonal Allergies: Clogged Ears, Vertigo, Itching, and More
According to the CDC, over 25% people in the United States experience seasonal allergies. If you are one of these people, you might be preparing yourself to deal with the change in seasons. You might be getting ready for symptoms like sneezing, coughing, and postnasal drip, but did you know seasonal allergies can bother your ears as well? As you start to prepare for the next round of seasonal allergies, keep in mind some of the ways that they can affect your ears.
Itchy Outer Ears
In response to common allergens like pollen, your body produces a chemical called histamine. Histamine triggers a variety of different reactions in your body, with one of them being itchy skin. You might notice this affecting your outer ear and feel the need to scratch more than usual. The skin of your outer ear might also appear red or dry.
Another reaction your body has to histamine is swelling and inflammation. The swelling and inflammation can make it so your ears cannot drain fluid as they normally would, which can lead to a feeling of pressure or fullness in your ears. This pressure can eventually lead to pain as well and may also cause ringing in the ears. Seasonal allergies can also lead to an increase in earwax. A buildup of excess earwax can cause discomfort as well. Clogged ears may cause you to experience hearing loss, as the sound waves are blocked from passing through the outer or middle ear.
During allergy season, you might experience ear infections more frequently, or they may linger for longer than normal. Because your ears are not able to drain properly, bacteria have a chance to breed in the retained fluid. This then leads to an ear infection that can cause several uncomfortable symptoms. Signs of an ear infection include pain, pressure, fever, unusual discharge, and fatigue.
Dizziness and Balance Issues
Your Eustachian tubes, which are connected to your ears, are responsible for your balance. If your allergen response is causing you a buildup of fluid blocking your Eustachian tubes, you can start to feel dizzy or lightheaded. This blockage can cause you to feel like the world around you is spinning, which is also referred to as vertigo. Vertigo can be dangerous as it affects your balance and can even cause some people to fall.
The problems caused by seasonal allergies can put a damper on enjoying the transition of the seasons but knowing what you can expect may help to relieve some of the stress surrounding these symptoms. It’s important to reach out to a hearing healthcare professional for any prolonged discomfort or hearing loss, so you can continue to enjoy the world around you.
Call our office today to find out more about how seasonal allergies may be impacting your hearing health.