Paradise Valley Allergy - Allergies Are a Common Problem
Allergies are a common problem especially during the spring and summer when trees and plants are blooming and pollen is in the air. When most people hear the word allergy, they think of seasonal allergies and hay fever but allergies can also involve immune responses to food, medications, mold, bee stings, pets, cosmetics, and more. The most common symptoms of seasonal allergies are a runny nose, sneezing, and itchy eyes, which most people experience to varying degrees. Some people also complain of ear discomfort during allergy season. Can allergies cause ear pain?
Can Allergies Cause Ear Pain?
There is an association between allergies and ear pain. A cold or allergies can cause the thin tube (the eustachian tube) that connects the middle ear and the nose to become inflamed and blocked a condition known as eustachian tube dysfunction. When this happens, mucous and fluid produced by the middle ear cant adequately drain and it becomes trapped. When fluid is trapped in the middle ear, it creates the perfect environment for the growth of bacteria. The result is a painful ear infection.
Allergies and Ear Pain: Hearing May Be Affected
In some cases, a cold or allergies causes blockage of the eustachian tube with fluid build-up in the middle ear without the fluid becoming infected. When this happens, theres usually no ear pain, but hearing may be reduced as the fluid thickens and interferes with the eardrums ability to vibrate and transmit sound. The ear can also very full and may with swallowing.
Children are at a higher risk for eustachian tube dysfunction and fluid build-up in the middle ear because their eustachian tubes are narrow and are angled more horizontally than an adults. Children are also more likely to have enlarged adenoids, which can obstruct the eustachian tube.
Allergies and Ear Pain: How Is It Treated?
Ear pain with allergies usually requires a doctors visit because pain means that the fluid in the middle ear has become infected. If the only symptom is ear fullness without pain, the goal is to open up the blocked eustachian tube so that fluid and mucous can drain normally. Decongestants and nasal steroid sprays help by reducing the inflammation and by decreasing swelling of the mucous membranes. They also help to relieve some of the other symptoms of allergy.
In some cases, fluid in the middle ear doesent get better with treatment. Fluid in the middle ear is considered to be chronic if it doesent go away after six weeks. When this happens, some doctors recommend placing ear tubes to help promote better drainage of the middle ear particularly if hearing is affected. Fortunately, most middle ear fluid resolves over several weeks without the need for tube placement.
Can Allergies Cause Ear Pain?: The Bottom Line
There is an association between allergies and ear pain, but when pain occurs it usually indicates an ear infection caused by the build-up of fluid in the middle ear from the allergy. If you have allergies and ear pain, it's best to come see us for relief.