Tinnitus is a ringing, buzzing, hissing or other noise in the ear. While sometimes a cause for tinnitus cannot be found, many potential causes exist, including allergies.
The Link Between Allergies and Tinnitus
One of the reasons tinnitus can occur is when pressure builds up in your inner or middle ear. Allergies can cause congestion which directly contributes to the buildup.
For example, allergic rhinitis, also known as hay fever or seasonal allergies, causes symptoms such as nasal congestion. Research has shown that patients with allergic rhinitis are significantly more likely to have Eustachian tube dysfunction (ETD). Eustachian tube dysfunction can lead to symptoms like tinnitus.
Additionally, allergies can lead to other conditions that are known to cause tinnitus, including:
- Sinus infections. Allergies can lead to clogged sinus passages which may eventually become infected, leading to sinus pain and pressure, and can potentially affect the ears.
- Ear infections. Congestion and inflammation in the ear caused by allergies can lead to infection. In addition to tinnitus, ear infections may also cause temporary hearing loss.
- Earwax buildup. Allergies can lead to an increased production of earwax, which increases your potential for buildup. This can clog the ears and cause tinnitus, among other symptoms.
How To Know if You Have Allergies?
Because many things can cause tinnitus, you may be unsure whether allergies are the culprit. If you have allergic rhinitis, you will likely experience other symptoms like sneezing, runny nose and itchy watery eyes. Additionally, you may notice that your symptoms flare up whenever you’re around certain triggers, like outside in areas where there are higher levels of pollen, such as North Charleston Wannamaker County Park.
However, the only way to know for sure if allergies are causing your symptoms is to visit your medical provider. If they suspect allergies, they may refer you to see an allergist. They can perform allergy testing to confirm the diagnosis, identify your triggers and come up with appropriate treatment options.
Medications like antihistamines can help dry out your sinuses and improve the function of your Eustachian tube. Similarly, decongestants or nasal corticosteroids can relieve congestion and inflammation in the sinuses, which can help reduce both your tinnitus and allergy symptoms.
For more information or to schedule an appointment today, call the experts at Charleston ENT & Allergy.