If you are one of the 25.7% of adults in the United States who deal with seasonal allergies, you probably have symptoms like nasal congestion, a runny nose and itchy, watery eyes. However, allergies can affect other parts of your body as well, including, in some cases, your ears.
Congestion from Allergies Can Lead to Ear Pain
When you have an allergic reaction, your body releases chemicals like histamine that are responsible for your allergy symptoms. These chemicals can irritate your eyes, nose and throat and cause your sinuses to swell. This swelling can cause fluid to build up in the ear canal, leading to pain or discomfort.
Can Allergies Cause Ear Infections?
Because allergies can lead to a buildup of fluid in your ears, having allergies may make you more prone to developing an ear infection. When fluid collects behind the eardrum, it increases the risk of bacteria and viruses growing in the fluid, which can lead to an infection.
Symptoms of a middle ear infection include:
- Ear pain
- A feeling of fullness or pressure in the ear or ears
- Popping or crackling sounds in the ear
- Drainage from the ear
- Swelling or redness of the eardrum
- Fever (more common in children)
- Muffled hearing
While ear infections rarely turn serious, if your symptoms persist for several days, you should contact a medical professional. You may need to take antibiotics to help your body clear the infection.
Can Allergies Affect Your Hearing?
Fluid buildup in the middle ear, as well as swelling in the outer ear, can prevent sound from being able to reach the inner ear and lead to conductive hearing loss. This type of hearing loss is temporary, and your hearing should return to normal once the fluid drains from your ear or ears.
Prevent Allergies from Affecting Your Ears
If allergies are causing your ear symptoms, a combination of at-home remedies and medications should improve your symptoms.
The best way to prevent allergy symptoms is to avoid or minimize exposure to your specific triggers. This may mean keeping your windows closed, using a HEPA air filter and avoiding outdoor areas like River Birch Trail.
When it comes to medications, you may find success with over-the-counter antihistamines and regular saline rinses to help keep your sinuses clear and reduce inflammation. However, if you find that these methods alone aren’t enough to control your symptoms, make an appointment with an allergist.
An allergist can evaluate your symptoms, perform allergy testing if needed and recommend treatments like prescription medications or immunotherapy depending on your individual needs.
To find relief from your allergies, schedule an appointment with the experts at Spartanburg | Greer ENT & Allergy today.