Can Allergies Cause Tinnitus?

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If you've got allergies, you're at high risk of developing tinnitus—a condition commonly called "ringing in the ears." The pitch of this ringing can be high or low, or loud or soft. You might also hear a totally different sound, such as clicking, buzzing, roaring, or even hissing. Learn more about allergy-related tinnitus and how to treat these symptoms in this article.

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Tinnitus Statistics

Tinnitus is one of the most common medical conditions in the United States, affecting over 45 million people. It frequently occurs between the ages of 60 and 69.

Risk Factors for Allergy-Induced Tinnitus

Allergies develop when your body overreacts to a foreign substance in your environment, such as pollen, dust mites, animal dander, and mold. Your immune system views these allergens as a threat to your health and begins to fight them off. This is what causes your allergy symptoms.

Common allergy symptoms include:

  • Nasal congestion
  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Itchy eyes, nose, and/or mouth
  • Rash
  • Wheezing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue
  • Headache

Allergy Statistics

Allergies affect over 50 million people in the United States each year. Hay fever alone accounts for over 19 million of these cases in adults and over 5 million cases in children.

Tinnitus occurs when abnormal pressure develops in your inner or middle ear. This can be a direct result of congestion caused by allergies. Several allergy-related conditions can increase your risk of developing tinnitus, including:

  • Allergic rhinitis: This condition—also known as hay fever— describes a group of allergy symptoms that affect your nose and sinuses.
  • Sinus infections: Sinuses are air-filled spaces in your nose and face that become clogged with mucus when you have allergies. Bacteria, viruses, and fungi can then grow in the mucus, leading to sinus infections.
  • Ear infections: Congestion and inflammation can develop in your ears if you have allergies, leading to ear infections.
  • Eustachian tube dysfunction: Your eustachian tube connects your throat to your middle ear. This tube can become plugged or inflamed with allergies, and tinnitus can occur.
  • Clogged ears: Allergies increase the production of earwax, which can cause clogged ears and lead to tinnitus.

Other Allergy-Related Ear and Hearing Issues

Tinnitus isn't the only side effect of allergies that can affect your ears and hearing. Inflammation and fluid buildup can muffle sounds, as though you're listening to someone speak while underwater. This condition, called conductive hearing loss, occurs when sound waves cannot travel effectively to your middle ear.

Eustachian tube dysfunction occurring with allergies can also cause pain and/or pressure in your ears, dizziness, and difficulty maintaining your balance.

Treatment

Tinnitus and other allergy symptoms can often be effectively treated with medications and other types of interventions, such as:

  • Medications: Over-the-counter medications such as antihistamines and decongestants can help relieve allergy symptoms and reduce tinnitus. Antihistamines block chemicals released by your immune system that are causing your symptoms. Decongestants reduce mucus buildup in your nasal passages and sinuses by thinning mucus and reducing inflammation.
  • Nasal irrigation: Rinsing your nasal passages and sinuses with a distilled water and salt solution can reduce excess mucus that is contributing to your tinnitus and wash out bacteria that could potentially lead to infection. Nasal irrigation can be performed with a container called a neti pot.
  • Medical treatment: Treating your allergies might require a visit to the doctor. A specialist, called an allergist, can perform tests to help determine what you are allergic to. In some cases, you might be able to avoid allergy symptoms altogether, once you know what the culprit is. Severe allergies might require prescription medications or allergy shots. You might also see an otolaryngologist, or ear, nose, and throat (ENT) doctor, to help treat your tinnitus.
  • Sound amplification devices: Using devices that improve your ability to hear external sounds can sometimes improve your hearing if you have tinnitus. While they don't decrease the ringing in your ears, they do help cover it up. These devices can include hearing aids and cochlear implants. However, tinnitus from allergies is typically short term and would not likely require this level of treatment unless you've also got other underlying hearing issues.

A Word From Verywell

While tinnitus can be a frustrating side effect of allergies, feeling stressed about this symptom can actually make it worse. While some stress-relieving techniques, such as deep breathing, might be difficult with allergies, incorporating relaxing activities like meditation or yoga into your schedule can also help reduce overall stress levels.

Talk to your doctor about allergy testing and other treatment options if over-the-counter medications and home remedies are not effective in relieving your symptoms.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Will tinnitus caused by allergies go away?

    Treating your allergies can help reduce all of your symptoms, including tinnitus.

  • Where can I find a tinnitus support group?

    Contact the American Tinnitus Association for information about support groups. Also, talk to your doctor about local or online options.

  • Does tinnitus cause dizziness?

    While tinnitus does not specifically lead to dizziness, these symptoms often occur together. They can both develop from pressure buildup in your middle and inner ear.

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9 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. Tinnitus. Updated March 6, 2017.

  2. American Tinnitus Association. Demographics.

  3. American College of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology. Allergy symptoms.

  4. Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. Allergy facts and figures. Updated April, 2021.

  5. American Tinnitus Association. Tinnitus causes.

  6. American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. Conductive hearing loss.

  7. Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. Allergy treatment. Updated March, 2018.

  8. American Tinnitus Association. Hearing aids.

  9. Harvard Health Publishing. Is stress making your allergy symptoms worse? Updated April 19, 2021.