Each year allergy season causes 40 million Americans to brace for itchy, water eyes and runny noses. We hear newscasters talk about the allergy and pollen forecasts and try to predict just how bad allergy season will be this year. What is less often discussed is how allergies can cause hearing loss.

When the immune system senses allergens it begins to release histamine which causes inflamed nasal passages and airways. That inflammation causes excess mucus production, which leads to the congestion, sneezing and watery eyes that everyone associates with allergies. The excess fluid can be harmful to your ears when it clogs your nose and throat and begins to back up into your ears. (Your ear and throat are connected by a muscular tube that is designed to equalize pressure and properly transfer sound waves). The fluid build up causes earwax and other debris to collect in the ear. This eventually leads to ear infections and conductive hearing loss. Some people may complain of a feeling of pressure or fullness in their ears. This is the excess fluid pressing against your eardrum and causing discomfort.

Treat your allergies

Doctors recommend treating your allergies in order to reduce the amount of fluid build up in your ears. If you continue to feel discomfort in your ears even while taking allergy medication you should see a doctor. The longer you live with the discomfort the more damage you are doing to the structures in your ear. This damage cannot be undone.

Current hearing aid users also need to take extra care of their hearing aids during allergy season. Most common allergens are airborne microscopic particles that can easily land in your ear and clog your microphone port. Simply remember to give your hearing aids a good cleaning each night or every few days depending on how much time you spend outside. If you find that you are not hearing as well as you should make an appointment to have your hearing specialist clean your hearing aids. They can use a special vacuum to make sure each nook and cranny is clean and working for you.