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Hay fever and hearing loss

Hay fever and hearing loss

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Hay fever and hearing loss

The tulips are in bloom. It’s getting a little warmer. The ice cream shops on Seaton front are booming. Light nights. The smell of freshly cut grass. Burning eyes…. wait, what was that last one? Oh yes, it’s also hay fever season.

For me, that means that I have 2-3 months where I want to pull out my eyes and rinse them under the tap. For many others it means their hearing can get worse. Here’s why, and what you can do about it.

Hay fever is also known as allergic rhinitis. It is a common condition that affects millions of people in the UK. It is characterised by allergic reactions to certain airborne substances, such as pollen. While hay fever primarily affects the nasal passages and eyes, it can also cause hearing loss and tinnitus. In this article, we will explore the connection between hay fever and these auditory symptoms.

Hearing Loss and Hay Fever

Hay fever can lead to hearing loss through several mechanisms. One common way is through the blockage of the Eustachian tubes. These  are responsible for equalising pressure between your middle ear and the environment. When they become swollen or congested due to allergic reactions, it can impair their ability to function properly. This can result in a feeling of fullness or pressure in the ears and, in some cases, temporary hearing loss.

Furthermore, hay fever can cause inflammation within the middle ear, affecting the delicate structures responsible for transmitting sound waves. This inflammation can disrupt the normal functioning of the middle ear, leading to a reduction in hearing.

Tinnitus and Hay Fever

The perception of sound without an external source, can also be linked to hay fever.  Allergic reactions trigger the release of histamines and other inflammatory substances, causing inflammation. This inflammation can cause the Eustachian tubes to swell and you feel congested. This congestion dulls your hearing and, in turn, the brain dials up your tinnitus. Here’s a little more on why that happens.

In most cases, hay fever-related tinnitus is temporary and goes away when your hay fever does. If this doesn’t happen, then you should get in touch with us.

Management and Prevention

If you experience hearing loss or tinnitus related to hay fever, there are steps you can take to manage and alleviate these symptoms:

  1. Allergy Management: Talk to your GP or a pharmacist about effective management of your hay fever. This may involve identifying and avoiding specific allergens, using nasal sprays or antihistamines to control it, or even having allergy immunisations in extreme cases.
  2. Look After Your Ears: Practice good ear hygiene by keeping your ears clean and free from excessive wax buildup. Call us if you experience persistent ear blockage or discomfort.
  3. Environmental Factors: Minimise exposure to allergens by keeping windows closed during high pollen seasons, using air purifiers or filters, and regularly cleaning your living spaces to reduce pollen dust.
  4. Seek Professional Help: If hearing loss or tinnitus persists despite hay fever management efforts, then call us on 01429 233 091.

Remember, early intervention and proper management of hay fever can help reduce the impact of hearing loss.

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If you’re looking for some more info before making a booking, try the NHS page on allergic rhinitis here.

Or you can give us a call for a quick chat on 01429 233 091.