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Yes, allergies do affect my hearing.

Posted Jan 14 2009 8:44pm 1 Comment
About ten days ago, my hearing changed. It sounded like Darth Vader was on my left shoulder and if I was somewhere with background noise, like a grocery store, it sounded like there was a train passing very near by. After posting what I was experiencing here on Hearing Journey, I took Kim and Evelyn's advise and made an appointment with my audiologist which I had yesterday.

There is some history leading up to this change and it answers some questions about why this had not come up before. I got my second implant a year ago on 10/10/2007 and was hooked-up on 10/17/2007, so I have had regular mappings this past year. Also, last fall, I decided I wanted to make some healthy changes and getting off of the allergy medication that I was taking every day was one of them along with some dietary changes. I managed to stop taking Claritin every day and did not use allergy medication for the rest of the winter, spring and this recent summer. About two weeks ago, I began having allergy symptoms and I was in need of relief, so I started taking Claritin again to get through this season. About four days after I started taking the medication, my hearing changed dramatically to what I described above. I continued to take the Claritin and I saw Dr. Gifford yesterday. When I gave her my allergy history and the changes I was experiencing, she said that normally this would have confused her, but she had just come back from a seminar where this was one of the subjects that was discussed. She said there have been cases of people with cochlear implants complaining of their hearing changing - enough to complain about it - when they have colds or allergies or are taking medications that treat colds or allergies. When you bypass most of what makes a person hear, you wonder how can this be? It has to do with the proximity of the electrode to our cochlea and the cochlea membranes can fluctuate when we have allergies, colds or take medication to relieve symptoms from these conditions.

We went ahead and went through the mapping process. We made some changes, but nothing really big. It was hard to get rid of all of the echoing sound. Also, my audiologist was concerned that when I get through this allergy season, I might not like these current maps, but if that is the case, we will adjust them again.

This morning, I again took Claritin and because my face was still hurting I also took Sudafed and Ibuprofen. With the added decongestant, things were sounding a bit better. I decided to keep a journal about the medication I'm taking and how things sound.

I'm not exactly sure what I'm allergic to. I live in Southern Minnesota and when we go to our cabin which is about 250 miles north, I usually feel better. Whatever it is, it comes out in the fall.

I am frustrated and I hope I will be able to get my hearing back to where it was before this started.
Comments (1)
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During my search on wellsphere to see if anyone knew anything about allergies affecting hearing, I came across your post.  I'm not sure, but I think allergies have caused my hearing loss.  It started last Spring/Summer with my ears just bothering me, then I had a sudden hearing loss in both ears.  Have been going to doctors and the conclusion was autoimmune hearing inner ear disease since my hearing improves with steroids.

I've been doing research on the internet and came across an article that said allergies can cause hearing problems.  I mentionned it to my otologist and he referred me to a doctor at Univ of Colorado Hospitals here in Denver who works with allergies.  I've only seen the doctor once so far, but I'm going to get tested for various allergies since we know I have seasonal allergies.  (This doctor is an otologist too).

It will be interesting to see what happens.  At the least, if allergy treatments don't help my hearing, they should help my allergies!

Since the first episode of sudden hearing loss and going on prednisone to restore hearing, I've had the sudden hearing loss several more times.  I can live with the hearing loss, its the fluctuation and distortion that are annoying.  I figure I need to find out if there is something I can do to keep my hearing at a constant level, whatever that will be.  And yes, I'm going to get hearing aids.

 thanks for your posts, very helpful.  I think when I have time I'll look through what else you have to say!

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