Hay Fever and Pollen Allergy

Hearing seasonal issues

Is it that time of year again? From time to time some of us can be affected by New Zealand’s changing weather, especially during the spring and summer seasons.

Can hay fever affect my hearing?

Allergies such as hay fever and pollen allergies tend to rise during the summer months due to an increase in pollen levels and this has been known to cause hearing problems. Our bodies treat pollen as a harmful substance and therefore attempt to defend the body by releasing a chemical called histamine. Once released, it can result in the membrane lining of our eustachian tube (a tube connecting the ears and nose to the back of the throat) to become inflamed.  An inflammation of the eustachian tube can bring about an imbalance in pressure, creating the feeling of blocked ears.

Hay fever is a common allergy that many people suffer from. Common symptoms of hay fever are sneezing and congestion, resulting in an excessive mucus build-up in the middle ear. This can prevent sound waves from vibrating the tiny bones inside your middle ear that help you to hear sounds clearly. Therefore, a temporary hearing loss can occur as a consequence of hay fever. An excessive build-up of mucus can also prevent the eustachian tube from draining properly, causing added pressure to the ears.

What are the symptoms?

You should look out for the following symptoms, especially if you suffer from hay fever or other allergies:

  • Ear ache
  • Itchy ears
  • Swelling of the ear
  • Blocked ears
  • A short-term loss of hearing
  • Vertigo
  • Feeling imbalanced


It is important to seek medical advice if symptoms are recurring after the allergic reactions has passed over.

How can it be treated?

There are some home remedies that can help towards alleviating the symptoms of hay fever or pollen allergy. Seasonal issues will come and go, any hearing loss caused by hay fever, congestion or a pollen allergy will resolve itself after a while. However, if you feel you are struggling with the symptoms, here are some useful treatments to try:

  • Washing the affected ear gently with a warm cloth and dry thoroughly
  • Inhale steam or menthol to open the eustachian tube to allow fluid from the middle ear to drain away
  • Equalise the pressure in your ears by yawning, chewing gum or holding your nose and blowing gently until your ears pop
  • Taking antihistamines or other over-the-counter allergy relief tablets

Ask an Expert

This type of hearing loss is short-term and usually resolves itself once the hay fever and pollen allergy subsides. If you feel you are experiencing any changes in hearing, it is important to seek professional advice from a hearing expert. At Bay Audiology, we offer no obligation FREE hearing checks where you can speak to one of our clinicians to give you some peace of mind!