Itching, sneezing, coughing, and wheezing are all symptoms you might be feeling as allergy season reaches its peak. Another symptom you might feel is discomfort in your ears. Your allergies, caused by the changing of the seasons, can have a large impact on your body. It's important to pay attention to your symptoms, especially in your ears, so you can avoid any major disruption in your quality of life. Here are a few things you should know about how seasonal allergies can affect your ears:
When you encounter allergens like plant pollen, your body has an immune response that produces a chemical called histamine. Histamine elicits various reactions throughout your body like excess mucus, itching, rashes, swelling and inflammation. The excess mucus can cause irritation in your Eustachian tubes, which are connected to your ears. The swelling prevents extra fluid from draining which can lead to added pressure in your ears. Itching caused by histamine can affect your ears, and you may notice yourself trying to scratch your outer ears.
Due to the variety of reactions that histamine causes, you can experience a lot of different symptoms. Sometimes you'll experience a combination of symptoms, and they may change throughout the duration of your allergy reactions. These symptoms can include:
Some of these symptoms can be very uncomfortable and can cause you stress or anxiety. It's important to pay attention to these symptoms and track when they're happening, their duration, and the level of discomfort they bring you. All of this is important information that you can bring to a hearing healthcare professional to discuss getting help.
Due to the excess fluid in your ears, and the lessened ability for your body to drain it, you're more at risk of developing an ear infection. Signs of an ear infection include pain, fullness, fever, fatigue, and discharge.
Seasonal allergies can be bothersome, but there are some things you can do to help mitigate them. Taking extra care to clean your living space and avoiding highly pollenated areas (gardens, parks, etc.) can help, as well as speaking with your doctor about the use of antihistamines. Discomfort in your ears and any level of hearing loss, whether it is mild or severe, should be addressed by a hearing healthcare professional.