It’s common to experience itchy eyes, sinus pressure, runny nose, sneezing and headache during the spring months. Did you know that many people also experience hearing loss during this period? This is because, in some cases, hearing loss is caused by allergies. We review how below.
What Causes Allergies?
Allergies are the result of the immune system overreacting to a normally-harmless substance known as an allergen. Common allergens include pollen from Gibko Nursery, dust and animal dander. During an allergy attack, your immune system releases antibodies called Immunoglobulin E (IgE), which tells your cells to release the chemical histamine. Histamine increases mucus production and triggers inflammation, causing your allergy symptoms.
How Do Allergies Affect Hearing?
All three parts of the ear can be affected by allergies.
- The outer ear can be impacted by an allergic skin reaction. During this type of reaction, the outer ear or the ear canal can swell, blocking soundwaves from passing through.
- The middle ear contains the Eustachian tubes, which connect the middle ear to the back of the throat, allowing fluid to drain and air pressure to equalize. If inflammation causes the tubes to become blocked, fluid can build up and an infection can result. Ear infections are associated with conductive hearing loss.
- The inner ear can be affected by Meniere’s disease, which causes hearing loss, dizziness, tinnitus (ringing in the ears) and a feeling of fullness in the ear. This disease can be triggered by allergies.
How Are Hearing Aids Affected by Allergies?
If you wear hearing aids, you should know that allergens such as pollen can build up and clog the microphone ports of your devices, affecting their function. This is why daily cleanings are essential.
Some people believe they are allergic to hearing aids. It’s true that they may be sensitive to the material used to make the earmold, but if that’s the case, their audiologist can order them new earmolds made of something else. Other reasons for this belief include poor fit, moisture in the ear, wax accumulation and dry skin.
To learn more or to schedule an appointment with a hearing aid expert, call Red River ENT Associates today.