For many areas of the country, the calendar says spring but a quick glance outside still makes it seem like winter. Fortunately, in Charleston, temperatures are pleasant without being too hot yet.
No wonder many South Carolinians rate spring as their favorite season! You might be less fond of springtime if you suffer from allergies, however. Allergies can even affect your hearing.
Changes in the Atmosphere
Most of us look forward to spring with an enthusiasm we share for no other season.
In cold climates, it means we’re able to go outside in shirt sleeves – a novel concept after months of snow!
In warmer areas, the weather is generally still temperate. Spring is perfect in many ways – except for the downpours, temperature swings and pollen explosions.
All kidding aside, spring is great – as long as you are prepared for it from a health standpoint.
Swift changes in barometric pressure can cause a pressure imbalance in your ears, leading to a sensation of fullness or “popping.”
Seasonal allergies only make the problem worse; they can cause inflammation in the Eustachian tube, making pressure equalization harder.
Individuals with Meniere’s disease, an inner ear disorder characterized by excess fluid buildup, suffer the worst; fluid in the endolymphatic chambers bulges as a result of atmospheric changes, leading to pain, pressure, fullness in the ear, tinnitus, vertigo and hearing loss.
Seasonal Allergies & Hearing Loss
Spring is synonymous with allergies in Charleston and many other places across the U.S. While the primary symptoms are sneezing, itchy/watery eyes and sinus pressure, the ears are also affected. Not surprising, given that they share a common pathology with the sinuses. The result is painful pressure in the ears.
The Asthma and Allergy Foundation estimates that seasonal allergies affect anywhere from 10-30 percent of the adult population. Children are even more likely to suffer, with 40 percent prone to seasonal allergies.
This means about 60 million Americans experience allergies and their associated symptoms, which occur as the result of an overactive immune system that produces antibodies as a defense mechanism against a perceived threat.
These antibodies release histamine into the bloodstream, leading to increased mucus production and the telltale symptoms listed above.
Treatment for Stuffed-Up Ears
To counteract the effects of stuffed-up ears, your Charleston audiologist recommends over-the-counter antihistamines and decongestants.
You might also adopt lifestyle modifications such as increasing physical exercise, reducing sodium in your diet and eating plenty of fruits and vegetables; these act as a diuretic that can reduce fluid retention.
Chronic pressure in the middle ear can eventually lead to ear infections and even hearing loss.
If you are experiencing changes in hearing this spring, schedule an appointment with a Charleston audiologist as soon as you can.
If you wear hearing aids, be extra vigilant in protecting them from the elements. Increased moisture can build up in the tubing and cause damage to the microphone and receiver, while pollen and other allergens in the air can clog ports.
Take care to clean your hearing aids on a daily basis. Wear a hat or use an umbrella if it’s raining and consider investing in a dehumidifier to keep your devices dry when not in use.
Your Charleston audiologist can provide you with additional tips on protecting your ears this spring.
Now, go enjoy the nice weather while it lasts!
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Other Charleston Audiologists Office Locations
537 Folly Rd
Charleston, SC 29412
2295 Henry Tecklenburg Dr
Charleston, SC 29414