Allergy sufferers in Charleston have to contend with a variety of unpleasant symptoms. Runny nose; itchy, watery eyes; sneezing; coughing and postnasal drip are all commonplace. A lesser-known possibility is hearing loss.
What are Allergies?
When the immune system encounters a substance that could potentially cause your body harm, it releases chemicals called histamines into the bloodstream. This exaggerated response produces the symptoms that are most commonly associated with allergies. Side effects of your body’s own immune response include inflammation, itchiness and mucus production.
Individuals with allergies in Charleston are most likely to experience symptoms during the spring and summer months, but just because fall is right around the corner is no reason to relax your guard.
Allergies can occur year-round; the most common triggers are pollen, dust mites, mold, animal dander, environmental irritants (smoke/pollution), chemicals and food.
Symptoms aren’t confined to the eyes and nose. They can affect the ears, too, causing itchiness, pressure and fullness, infection, dizziness, ringing in the ears and—in extreme cases—hearing loss.
Can allergies affect your ears?
Different parts of the ear are susceptible to allergies. Swelling of the ear canals may occur when the skin of the outer ear comes into contact with pollen, insect bites or metals like nickel. This swelling can prevent sound from entering the canal and lead to temporary hearing loss.
The Eustachian tube in the middle ear is an organ that regulates and equalizes pressure. Allergies can cause excess mucus buildup that causes swelling and a plugged-up sensation. Left untreated, permanent hearing loss can occur.
Common inner ear disorders such as Meniere’s disease can worsen when allergies occur, leading to a flare-up in symptoms.
How can you relieve allergy symptoms?
Short of locking the door and staying inside all year long, there’s no real way to avoid allergies in Charleston—but that doesn’t mean there aren’t steps you can take to relieve symptoms.
Over-the-counter drugs like Tylenol, Advil and Motrin can help with pain relief, while decongestants may help reduce mucus buildup.
Try holding a warm, wet washcloth against the affected ear as a compress to ease discomfort. Get as much rest as you can to help your body fight infection.
If symptoms are persistent or frequently recur, your Charleston ear, nose and throat doctor might recommend immunotherapy (allergy shots or oral drops). This long-term treatment allows your body to build up resistance to an allergen, reducing the severity of symptoms over time.
For more information on the connection between allergies and hearing loss or to learn more about effective treatment strategies, schedule an appointment with an hearing doctor in Charleston.
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Our Charleston Area Audiologists Office Locations
North Mount Pleasant
North Charleston, SC 29406
298 Midland Pkwy
Summerville, SC 29485
2005 2nd Avenue
Summerville, SC 29486