Happy Spring! Spring generally brings allergies and itchy ears with it. Problems with your ears or hearing may be a sign of allergies, an overreaction by your body to substances to that are harmless to most people. Allergens include inhalants (pollen, dust, mold, animal dander or other substances drawn in through the nose), foods, medications and substances that come into contact with the skin. Among the common symptoms of allergies:
- Outer ear - chronic itching or frequent infections of the ear canal
- Middle ear - repeated ear infections and long-lasting fluid behind the eardrum
- Inner ear - dizziness, ear fullness/pressure, tinnitus ("ringing in the ears") and sensorineural hearing loss
For some individuals, a condition known as autoimmune inner ear disease (AIED) may be linked to allergies. AIED, in which the body's immune system attacks the inner ear, affects hearing and sometimes the balance nerve; symptoms include rapid hearing loss and, in about 30% of cases, Meniere's disease. While we don't know the cause of most cases, some people with AIED have signs of other diseases caused by an overly active immune system, which may be exhibited by allergies.
If you suspect that an allergy may be causing problems with your ears or hearing, we encourage you to seek diagnosis and treatment by a qualified medical professional. We offer free hearing screenings so book your appointment today!