Spring is coming, which means allergies too. And that can mean a flare-up of hearing issues.
Firstly, you should know that the inner ear is really complex. There are a lot of very tiny parts that have to work in concert to make hearing work. And allergies — especially the congestion and swelling that usually come with them — can basically gum up the works.
The problem starts with the tiny channels that drain fluid from the middle ear to your upper throat — the Eustachian tubes. They get clogged up and nothing good happens thereafter.
First, congestion can block the ear canal and alter hearing. Some allergies can even cause the production of earwax to go into high gear, further obstructing things.
In addition, the head cold-like symptoms allergies bring can also change pressure levels against the eardrum, thereby throwing off its performance.
Then there’s the other key role the inner ear plays — maintaining the body’s overall sense of balance. This is done by the vestibular system, which maintains equilibrium via endolymph, the fluid that flows within the vestibule and the three canals that are the primary parts of this precision system. Allergies, by producing excess fluid in and around the vestibular system, can throw off that equilibrium, resulting in dizziness and vertigo.
And since the ear is so small, any swelling will cause problems. Parts can get pushed into one another; the ear canal can narrow, changing normal acoustics.
Unfortunately, there aren’t any great solutions other than standard allergy medicines. If your allergies get going, don’t be surprised if your ears get itchy, there’s periodic ringing in them, or you start getting dizzy.