Spring brings us the beginning of brighter days, daffodils starting to peek through the flower beds, the days lasting a little longer and a few April showers thrown in of course. For many of us after a dark, wet, cold winter it is just what the doctor ordered. The thought of sunnier days ahead. For others It can bring us more irritation than enjoyment with increased hay fever and allergies from pollen causing runny noses, sore eyes and blocked ears and that’s just the start I know for some it can be much worse.
Our bodies naturally release histamine to protect the body to help warn off the pollen but this release of histamine can cause inflammation to the membrane of the eustachian tube and cause a blocked feeling in the ears.
What is the eustachian tube?
The Eustachian tube is a thin air filled tube about 3 cm long in the average adult that connects the middle ear with the base of the nose. One of its functions is to drain mucus from the middle ear. If you are prone to hay fever or allergies from pollen it can cause swelling to the eustachian tube and this swelling can be the cause of your blocked ear feeling.
Can it be treated?
In most cases the full feeling can be treated with over the counter medication such as antihistamines or decongestants. Antihistamines work by helping to prevent an allergic reaction and decongestants help to reduce swelling. Another way is to inhale steam to help loosen the mucus.
Medications should only be used on a short term basis. If you are suffering from an ongoing feeling of fullness in the ears you should seek medical advice from your GP or audiologist.
Looking after your hearing aids.
If you are a hearing aid wearer you may have started to notice that the maintenance of your hearing aids needs to match the weather. With more pollen in the air the tiny microphones can become blocked more often. A daily wipe of these using a soft bristle brush or soft cloth can help keep on top of this. Humidity and damp air is a hearing aids worst enemy. Purchasing a good dehumidifier can prolong the life of your hearing using one on a regular basis to draw the moisture out of the hearing aid. Some dehumidifiers today also include a deep clean cycle that eliminate bacteria from the hearing aid as well using UV light. You may notice more of a build up of wax when there is an increase in the pollen levels, so regular changing of wax traps and domes is also essential to keep your hearing aid working as efficiently as it can.
Things to remember.
Never ignore a blocked ear feeling for too long especially if you have already tried over the counter medication.
Keep on top of the maintenance of your hearing aids.
Any concerns about your ears feeling blocked or not quite right contact your hear care specialist who can advise you further. If you would like advice on how to look after your hearing aids speak to a member of our team who can advise you on the best maintenance routine. When purchasing our hearing aids we offer tailor made after care packages to suit everyone’s requirements.