Can Allergies Cause Hearing Loss?

Sneezing senior man with hearing loss caused by allergies.

Itchy eyes, watery eyes, sneezing, and coughing, are all symptoms of an allergic reaction, but can a change in your ability to hear also be a symptom of an allergic reaction?  The answer is yes allergies cause hearing loss in some but not all allergy sufferers.  Your ear consists of three parts; the outer ear, the middle ear, and the inner ear.  It’s possible for your allergies to impact the function of one, two or all three parts of the ear resulting in a hearing loss.

Ear symptoms related to allergies

If you have an allergic reaction that is affecting your ears, you may experience any or all of the following:

  • Chronic itching of the outer ear canal
  • Frequent outer ear infections
  • Feeling of fullness or pressure in the ear
  • Recurrent infections of the middle ear
  • Dizziness
  • Tinnitus (noises in the head)

The Outer Ear

Outer ear infections caused by an allergic skin reaction result in itching and or swelling of the pinna (outer ear) or external auditory meatus (ear canal).

The Middle Ear

Allergies primarily affect the middle ear. The middle ear has a drainage tube or pressure release valve called the eustachian tube.  If this tube becomes clogged with mucus or if swelling blocks the opening, the pressure and fluid can build up in the middle ear.  The increase in pressure will give you the sensation that your ears need to “pop.”  You may notice a decrease in your ability to hear.  Fluid in the middle ear over time can breed bacteria.  Infection is often the result of fluid residing in the middle ear.  Although occurring more commonly in children,  adult s will also experience are not immune to middle ear infections.

The Inner Ear

There are disease’s that affect the inner ear, for example, Meniere’s disease, that may also have an allergic component.   The symptoms of Meniere’s Disease cause fluctuations in hearing.  Patients have reported those fluctuations in conjunction with the presence or absence of known allergens.

Outcome

A hearing loss that is the result of an allergic reaction is usually reversible.  The loss will typically last for a short period of time.  The medical intervention used to relieve the allergic reaction will also usually resolve the hearing loss.

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