hay fever and hearing loss

Hay fever and hearing loss: What’s the connection?

28 / 06 / 24

Blog post

Although you might not think it from the disappointing weather, we’re now in the summer months, and for many people that can only mean one thing – hay fever.

While you’ll be aware of all the usual common hay fever symptoms, you might not know that seasonal allergies can cause an increase in the effects of existing hearing problems, as well as create temporary hearing loss for those who aren’t usually affected.

In today’s article, we’ll take a look at the connection between allergies and hearing loss, and provide some suggestions on how best to manage your condition.

Understanding hay fever

Hay fever is a common condition which affects millions across the globe. Also known as allergic rhinitis or referred to as a seasonal allergy, hay fever is an allergic reaction to pollen – those allergic to tree pollen tend to get symptoms in early spring, while grass pollen can cause issues from later spring through to summer. Hay fever can also be triggered by dust mites and pet dander all year around.

Common symptoms of hay fever include:

  • A blocked or runny nose
  • Coughing and sneezing
  • Itchy, irritated eyes

The symptoms can often be similar to those of a common cold, with further reactions including a loss of your sense of smell, an itchy throat, and headaches.

pollen allergy

How hay fever can cause hearing loss

Hay fever can cause issues in multiple parts of the ear, which can contribute to a decrease in your level of hearing.

Eustachian tube

The eustachian tube connects the middle ear to the back of your throat, and plays an important role in the balancing of ear pressure.

When you have an allergic reaction to pollen, your immune system’s response can create inflammation in the eustachian tube, and any mucus or fluid that builds up as a result of this can make your ears feel blocked and stuffy, resulting in decreased hearing ability.

Middle ear

The effect of the inflammation in the eustachian tube can sometimes create a build-up of fluid in the middle ear. This can contribute to conductive hearing loss, with the fluid reducing the effect of vibrations on your ear drums.

Inner ear

Though less common than the previous two, your inner ear can still be exposed to allergies. In some cases, it could potentially trigger autoimmune inner ear disease. This disease mistakenly attacks the inner ear, causing inflammation and damaging the cochlea and auditory nerve, however this is a very rare condition.

In summary, whilst allergies can affect each part of your ear differently, the result could be hearing loss. If your hearing doesn’t improve after the rest of your hay fever symptoms subside, or you have concerns about your hearing loss symptoms, you should contact an audiologist. Here at Sutton Hearing Centre, we have the expertise and resources required to help with your hearing loss. Contact our specialists today to book an appointment.

hay fever causing hearing loss

Hay fever and hearing aids

As well as causing hearing loss, allergies can affect the performance of your hearing aids. Allergies can cause the microphone to clog, with an increased build-up of moisture and ear wax. This stops the hearing aids from functioning correctly, but there are solutions for it. For instance, regularly cleaning your hearing aids, and handling and storing them correctly can keep them performing seamlessly.


To clean your hearing aids, you should use a cloth specifically designed for cleaning electronic devices or optical lenses, that doesn’t leave any fibres behind. In addition to this, you will need to use a specialised cleaning brush and wipes, which will help clean the microphone, earpiece openings, and remove dirt and oils without damage.

Handling and storage

It’s easy to forget about correctly handling and storing your hearing aids, but it’s worth taking the extra steps to do this consistently. One example of good practice is simply cleaning and drying your hands before handling your hearing aids to prevent dirt and oils from transferring. They should also be stored in their provided cases when not being worn, and kept out of sight of pets and children to prevent any accidental damage.

Read more: Proper care and maintenance of hearing aids

allergies affecting hearing aid performance

Treatment options and management techniques

Depending on the severity of your hearing loss, there are different options to try and treat the issue.

Treating hay fever

To tackle hearing loss caused by hay fever, it’s best to try and target the root cause – treating your hay fever could help to reduce the audiological symptoms as well as the other common symptoms such as runny noses and sneezing.

There are many tips and tricks to prevent hay fever such as applying vaseline to the edge of your nostrils to catch any airborne pollen from entering your sinuses. However, medication is one of the most common routes, with anti-allergy medication such as antihistamines or nasal sprays regularly used by long-term sufferers.

If you’ve not used medication to treat your hay fever before, you should consult a doctor before doing so.

Relieving your symptoms

A decongestant can be beneficial here, as it provides short-term relief for a blocked or stuffy nose, and in turn can help to open your eustachian tubes.

If you’re feeling particularly stuffy and blocked within your ears, simple actions such as yawning or swallowing can help to relieve the pressure – much like when your ears “pop” on a flight.

Get in touch with Sutton Hearing Centre

Do your allergies consistently impact your hearing? It might be time to visit an audiologist. An audiologist won’t be able to cure your allergies, but they can provide treatment and techniques to help improve your hearing.

At Sutton Hearing Centre, we have many years of experience dealing with customers who suffer with hearing loss and other hearing issues. We have the expertise and knowledge to provide you with the best solution. Get in touch with our team today to receive the help you need.

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