Can allergies cause ear pain? The short answer is yes.
As our sinuses react to irritants, they can become swollen, and fluid may build up. Because our ear canals are connected to our sinuses, swelling in the sinuses can lead to increased pressure and pain in our ears.
Allergies may lead to fluid buildup behind the eardrum, and the eustachian tube may become blocked. The eustachian tube is a small passageway connecting the middle ear to the throat. There are two technical names for this condition: “serous otitis media” (SOM) and “otitis media with effusion” (OME). Children are at greater risk of SOM because their eustachian tubes are smaller. The ear pain associated with SOM can range from mild to severe and debilitating. Additional symptoms include a “plugged up” feeling in the ears, increased ear pain with altitude changes, ringing in the ears, inability to “pop” the ears, hearing loss, and vertigo (rare).
Additionally, allergies can lead to middle ear infections, “otitis media.” Bacteria and viruses can grow in the fluid buildup behind the eardrum. These microbes can cause ear infections in the middle ear. Symptoms of middle ear infections include ear pain, ear drainage, trouble hearing, poor sleep, appetite loss, and sore throats. If you have these symptoms, please make an appointment for an ear exam with your ENT. If you or your loved one are diagnosed with an ear infection, you may be prescribed antibiotics.
The best way to avoid ear pain from allergies is to proactively treat your allergies! Allergy treatment options include sublingual allergy drops, allergy shots, antihistamine pills, steroid sprays, and combination sprays. And as always, feel free to reach out to our office to schedule a consultation.