Can Hay Fever Cause Blocked Ears

Ask anyone who has experienced hay fever and blocked ears, and they will tell you it is not an enjoyable experience. Usually, hay fever causes itchy eyes, congestion in the nose, dry cough, and fatigue. Depending on the individual the reactions can merely be an annoyance or they can be debilitating.

The main symptoms are fairly common, but other symptoms can include blocked ears and ear pressure.  Blocked ears may not seem like a problem but they can cause a foggy mind, reduction in hearing, and they can even affect balance.

I’ve experienced hay fever for years and I’ve had a range of symptoms.  Some years I fared better than others. My health was often dependent on the amount of rainfall the previous winter (which allowed the plants to grow and produce pollen).

Ear clogging was always a minor problem but a few years ago I experienced a loss of balance due to hay fever and blocked ears. I’ll discuss more in the sections below.

Quick Review of Hay Fever

Hay fever is a broad term for seasonal pollen allergies. The term might seem confusing because the symptoms have little to do with “fever” or “hay”.

It was coined over a century ago by people who believed the cause might be from hay. They were wrong, but the term remained.

Grass and weed pollen are the main culprit of hay fever symptoms and reactions are not always easy to distinguish. One individual might experience itch eyes, while another individual experiences a cough or a congested nose.

The vast majority of hay fever symptoms are mild and involve the eyes and nose.  Below are a list of possible symptoms:

  • Itchy and watery eyes
  • Itchy, running and/or congested nose
  • Persistent allergic cough
  • Itchy skin
  • Sneezing
  • Allergic shiners (read my article on allergic shiners)
  • Fatigue
  • Itchy allergic rash on the face
  • Itchy and congested ears
  • Fluid in the sinuses/behind the ears

There may be other symptoms of hay fever not mentioned in this list. For example, I always experience a worsening of eczema (how I manage eczema) when I have hay fever.

People who have allergic asthma may experience more need for asthma medication during this time.

Hay Fever and Blocked Ears

Hay fever can cause clogged ears. This can happen in vairous ways.

Fluid can build up in the sinuses and behind the ear drum. This could cause pain and pressure in the ear.

There could also be excess wax can build up in the ear canal. In both cases, the ears can feel blocked and uncomfortable.

Frequently blocked ears, which can arise from allergies and hay fever, can also be a sign of Menier’s disease which should be diagnosed by a medical profession. Persistent clogged ears due to hay fever can lead to more serious issues like ear infection.

Excess wax can be managed with warm water and soap then drained. Fluid behind the eardrum isn’t as easy to manage unless you see a health profession or have medication, over the course of a few days, symptoms fluid behind the ear may subside.

In both cases, the best practice for reducing these symptoms is to reduce exposure to the allergen.  Just like many irritants in life and health, reduce exposure to the cause and relief should follow.

Antihistamines (read about the best antihistamines) are also useful when it comes to reducing the body’s production of histamine, which is the body’s inflammatory response to a threat to the body (often the main cause of itching).

My Experience With Clogged Ears and Hay Fever

On a warm, yet windy autumn night, I spent the evening outside. Whenever there is wind I expect my allergy symptoms to increase. I knew I’d feel my hay fever symptoms increasing in the following hours.  However, when I went to bed that night I didn’t expect to wake up with clogged ears.

In the morning, it was obvious my symptoms had increased. I felt a mild pressure in my ears and it muffled the sounds around my bedroom. The part that worried me about having blocked ears occured when I stood up from the bed.

I fell over because my balance was off. The pressure in my ear and the fact that it was clogged gave me vertigo. Albeit brief, I had trouble keeping my balance and even though it only lasted a second, I felt that my balance was off for the rest of the day.

I also felt like my mind was foggy. Over the following days I reduced the time I spent outside and took antihistamines. These two actions helped my hay fever and clogged ears and I got back to my old self.

I’ve experienced the blocked ears again, but not to the extent that they’ve affected my balance.

Conclusion

Hay fever is one of those terms that doesn’t make sense. It has less to do with hay and a fever, and more to do with allergies.

Hay fever includes a wide range of symptoms that all revolve around exposure to an allergen. In the spring it’s usually tree pollen, in the summer it’s grass, and weeds cause the majority of hay fever in the autumn.

The main symptoms are itchy eyes (conjunctivitis), a stuff nose, an itchy throat or dry cough, fatigue.  However, hay fever can cause blocked ears among others.

As someone who has hay fever, I can attest to having hay fever and clogged ears.  After a long day outside, whether working or exercising, I’ve woken up the following day with pressure in my ears and wax build up.

Even though it has never been painful, it’s none-the-less a bad feeling to experience. It affected my balance and my hearing and lasted for a few days until I reduced exposure to the allergen and took my antihistamines.

If you’re experiencing hay fever and blocked ears, it’s important to monitor your symptoms. If you feel it’s serious, make a point to visit a health professional.

They have the expertise to diagnose and treat you in the most effective way.  Often medicine such as antihistamines or ear drops are effective in helping reduce the ear blockage.