This article explores the relationship between allergies and tinnitus, can allergies cause tinnitus? Tinnitus is a condition that causes the sensation of noises in the ears and can occur suddenly or develop over time. It is commonly known as “ringing in the ears”, but the sound can be perceived as buzzing, whistling or hissing.
It is often difficult to pinpoint the cause of tinnitus, although allergies are thought to be one of the problem’s origins.
How common is Tinnitus?
Tinnitus is, unfortunately, a common condition. It occurs across all age groups, including young children. While 30% of people will experience tinnitus at some point, about 1 in 8 will live with the condition long term.
Tinnitus appears to be more common in those people who have hearing loss or other ear issues, but people with normal hearing can also suffer.
Every tinnitus sufferer will experience their symptoms differently. While many learn to live with the condition, some people’s daily lives are severely affected.
Why can allergies cause tinnitus?
Allergies start when your body produces too much histamine as a reaction to an external substance. Common triggers include pollen, dust, pet hair and mould.
As your body reacts to expel the threat, you will experience some symptoms that may include some or all of the following:
- Nasal congestion
- Runny nose
- Sneezing and coughing
- Red and itchy eyes, nose, and mouth
- Wheezing or breathing problem
More than 1 in 4 people suffer from some kind of allergy. Hay fever is the most common as it affects over 10 million people in the UK.
Tinnitus strikes when atypical pressure builds up in your ear. Pressure can be a result of the congestion caused by many allergies. Many allergies escalate the chance of developing tinnitus.
What symptoms can lead to tinnitus?
Your risk of developing tinnitus may be increased if you suffer from the following allergies or symptoms of allergies.
- Hay Fever: This allergy causes many issues that affect your sinuses, including swelling, itchiness and irritation. You may also experience blockages and an increase in excretions from your nose.
- Sinus infections: Your sinuses are located behind your cheeks, forehead and eye and when you produce too much mucous because of an allergic reaction, you may develop an infection.
- Ear infections: Ear Infections are common when your ears become inflamed from allergies.
- Eustachian tube problem: This tube links your throat and middle ear, and it may become inflamed from allergies.
- Blocked ears: Sometimes, your allergies will increase ear wax build-up that can clog your ears.
All of these symptoms put you more at risk of developing tinnitus.
Allergy-Related Hearing Issues – Can Allergies Cause Tinnitus?
Allergies can lead to hearing problems due to the inflammation, mucous and wax build-up that causes sounds to be muffled. This conductive hearing loss prevents the sound waves from travelling through your middle ear.
Sometimes, as well as hearing loss, you can experience pain or pressure in your ears and sometimes dizziness which can affect your balance.
If you suspect your hearing is being affected by allergies, you should contact The Hearing Health Hub for an examination.
Treatment for Allergy Induced Tinnitus
Managing your allergies’ symptoms can help you overcome any tinnitus symptoms. You may even be able to stop the condition in its tracks.
There are a variety of ways to lessen the effect of allergies.
- Medication: You can often manage allergy symptoms with over-the-counter medicines such as antihistamines and decongestants. They will stop your body from producing excess histamines and reduce the mucous built up in your sinuses. Stronger antihistamines are available from your doctor by prescription. Decongestants can be bought in the form of sprays, some of which contain steroids to reduce inflammation.
- Nasal irrigation: A Neti pot is an excellent home remedy that will help rinse out your nasal passages, clear them of allergens, and reduce inflammation. Good hygiene is essential to avoid introducing bacteria. You use sterile water and salt to rinse your nose out.
- Testing for Allergens: If you are unsure what triggers your allergies, your doctor can refer you for tests. A specialist can perform tests to isolate your triggers. Once you know what to avoid, you may be able to reduce outbreaks of symptoms which should help reduce your tinnitus.
- Hearing Aids: Whilst allergies are often short-lived, they may lead to an ongoing hearing problem. You may be surprised to learn that treating your hearing loss can also reduce the impact of tinnitus. Hearing external sounds better means that your perception of tinnitus sounds may be reduced or covered up.
How does stress affect tinnitus?
Stress is known to make tinnitus symptoms worse. Unfortunately, allergies can be stressful, especially if the symptoms are not successfully managed.
It is vital to seek medical help if your allergies are causing you to have a poor sleep and suffer from stress. Using the proper medication can help manage your condition and reduce your stress.
You can try many techniques to reduce your stress and help you cope with your tinnitus. Deep breathing techniques, meditation and yoga are all great ways to alleviate your tinnitus symptoms.
You can also try listening to background noise to distract your brain with options including white noise, classical music or relaxation music. Some people find that a fan can help to distract your brain and make your tinnitus easier to manage.
Can allergy-related tinnitus be cured?
Tinnitus is a condition that does not have a cure, but often tinnitus symptoms related to allergies will be temporary and only occur while the allergy causes problems. It is imperative to seek medical help for your allergies if over-the-counter solutions do not work.
Tinnitus can make sufferers miserable, and together with allergies, it can be stressful, leading to a never-ending cycle of more tinnitus problems.
Often allergies are seasonal, and your tinnitus will reduce when your allergy is not causing problems. Still, to prevent reoccurrence every year, it makes sense to invest some time into treating your allergies.
Should you want help with your tinnitus symptoms or if you suspect you have some hearing loss, contact us today at The Hearing Health Hub. We can offer advice about tinnitus, carry out hearing tests and remove excess wax.