Hay fever and hearing loss

Seasonal hearing issues

Is it that time of year again? From time to time some of us can be affected by Australia’s changing weather, especially during the spring and summer seasons.

Can hay fever affect my hearing?

Allergies such as hay fever and pollen allergies tend to rise during the summer months due to an increase in pollen levels, potentially causing temporary hearing problems. Our bodies treat pollen as a harmful substance and therefore attempt to defend the body by releasing a chemical called histamine. Once histamine has been released, it can result in the membrane lining of our Eustachian tube (a tube connecting the ears and nose to the back of the throat) becoming inflamed. An inflammation of the Eustachian tube can bring about an imbalance in pressure, creating the feeling of blocked ears.

Hay fever is a common allergy that many people suffer from. Common symptoms of hay fever are sneezing and congestion, resulting in an excessive mucus build-up in the middle ear. This can prevent sound waves from vibrating the tiny bones inside your middle ear that help you to hear sounds clearly, forming an interesting connection between hay fever and hearing loss (in most cases, temporary in nature). An excessive buildup of mucus can also prevent the Eustachian tube from draining properly, causing added pressure to the ears.

If you have any urgent concerns about your hearing, please consult your local GP for medical advice.

What are the symptoms?

You should look out for the following symptoms, especially if you suffer from hay fever or other allergies:

  • Ear ache
  • Itchy ears
  • Swelling of the ear
  • Blocked ears
  • A short-term loss of hearing
  • Vertigo
  • Feeling imbalanced

It is important to see medical advice if symptoms are recurring after the allergic reactions have passed.

How can it be treated?

There are some home remedies that can help towards alleviating the symptoms of hay fever or pollen allergy. Seasonal issues will come and go, any hearing loss from hay fever, congestion or a pollen allergy will resolve itself after a while. However, if you feel you are struggling with the symptoms, here are some useful treatments to try:

  • Washing the affected ear gently with a warm cloth and drying thoroughly
  • Inhaling steam or menthol to open the Eustachian tube to allow fluid from the middle ear to drain away
  • Equalising the pressure in your ears by yawning, chewing gum or holding your nose and blowing gently until your ears pop
  • Taking antihistamines or other over-the-counter allergy relief tablets

Ask an Expert

Hay fever hearing loss is short-term and usually resolves itself once the hay fever and pollen allergy subsides. If you feel you are experiencing any changes in hearing, it is important to seek professional advice from a hearing expert. At National Hearing Care, we offer no obligation FREE hearing consultations where you can speak to one of our full qualified audiologists or audiometrists to give you some peace of mind!

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