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Spring Has Sprung! | How allergies might affect your ears

Spring is here! As beautiful as the fresh mornings, warmer weather and new blooms are – they come with one thing that many people despise…POLLEN.

With the combination of grass, pet dander and dust at this time of year, allergies tend to flare up.

Some individuals are hypersensitive to these substances, they trigger an allergic reaction in the body, releasing histamine.

Types of allergic reactions in the ear and their symptoms

The most common symptoms are itchy and watery eyes and a stuffy nose.

Can allergies affect your ears? The short answer is yes, in several ways!

Ear pain

Ear pain can occur from sinus congestion, to earwax, infection and allergens. The membrane lining of the eustachian tube can react to an allergen and become inflamed or fluid may build up, therefore making the ears sore or ache.

Histamine release – itching, increased mucus production, and swelling.

This may also cause inflammation which prevents fluid or mucus from draining away, therefore leading to infection and ear pain due to a build-up of pressure.

Conductive hearing loss

Short-term hearing loss due to an allergic reaction may occur in some individuals, however the hearing generally returns to normal.

Allergies may lead to infection

The middle ear (located the behind the eardrum) contains the eustachian tubes, these act as a drainage tube.  When mucus clogs and the tubes swell the eustachian tube cannot drain properly. This can cause fluid and pressure to build up, providing a perfect breeding ground for bacteria and subsequent infection.

Symptoms of a middle ear infection include:

  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Redness of the eardrum
  • Tinnitus
  • Itching of the middle ear
  • Dizziness
  • Discharge
  • Loss of balance
  • and in serious cases, the eardrum might rupture

How to manage the discomfort:

  • Reduce pressure in the middle ear by resting in an upright position
  • Reduce pain by putting a cold pack or bag of frozen peas (wrapped in a tea towel) over your ear for 20 minutes
  • Ease pressure and pain by chewing gum
  • If these do not work, move to the solutions below

What are the solutions?

– Taking antihistamines and decongestants may reduce the blocked sensation

– Prescription eardrops

– Pain medication also may help an earache

– Your doctor might recommend or a nasal spray to eliminate stuffiness, runny nose, and sneezing

– If you have an infection, your GP may prescribe antibiotics

– If pressure in the ear doesn’t go away or becomes painful, it’s important to see a GP as soon as possible

Related Tag: Hearing Loss Treatment Gold Coast

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