Autumn Allergies and Your Hearing

Allergies and Hearing Loss

Your immune system responds to allergens by producing antibodies that release histamine. The release of histamine produces an allergic response. The resulting sneezing, itching and congestion also increases mucus production, which can cause conductive hearing loss.

Conductive Hearing Loss happens when sound waves are not able to travel through the outer ear. This blockage can be caused by fluid or earwax and is generally temporary. There are three parts of your ear that can be affected by allergy symptoms: the outer ear, middle ear, and inner ear.

  • Outer Ear: Skin reactions can cause swelling and/or itching of the outer ear and ear canal.
  • Middle Ear: This is where fluid buildup can happen, causing earaches or ear pressure. When swelling stops your middle ear from draining, it gives your ear a full feeling. Besides being uncomfortable, it can also cause balance issues.
  • Inner Ear: Hearing can be temporarily impaired in individuals with inner-ear disorders like Ménière’s disease.

Four things you might not know about Autumn allergies:

  1. Hay Fever – Hay fever, a term from a bygone era, actually has nothing to do with hay. Instead, it s a general term used to describe the symptoms of late summer allergies. Ragweed is a common cause of hay fever, which is also known as allergic rhinitis. The plant usually begins to pollinate in mid-August and may continue to be a problem until a hard freeze, depending on where you live.
  2. Lingering Warm Weather – While most people enjoy an Indian summer, unseasonably warm temperatures can make rhinitis symptoms last longer. Mold spores can also be released when humidity is high, or the weather is dry and windy.
  3. Piles of Leaves – Some folks might find it difficult to keep up with raking leaves throughout the autumn. But for allergy sufferers, raking presents its own problem. It can stir agitating pollen and mold into the air, causing allergy and asthma symptoms.
  4. School Allergens – It s not only seasonal pollen and mold that triggers allergies this time of year. Kids are often exposed to classroom irritants and allergy triggers.These can include chalk dust and classroom pets. Students with food allergies may also be exposed to allergens in the lunch room. Kids with exercise-induced bronchoconstriction (EIB) may experience attacks during recess or gym class. Help your child understand what can trigger their allergies and asthma, and how they can avoid symptoms.

Resources:

  • Healthy Hearing, July 13, 2017
  • Hearing Connection, July, 2013