Some research suggests allergies can affect the Eustachian tubes in the ear, which can lead to symptoms such as tinnitus. However, more research is necessary to understand the link between allergies and tinnitus.

Tinnitus occurs when a person experiences ringing or other sounds in the ears, most often without any external auditory input.

If it occurs due to inflammation from allergies, treating the allergies may help relieve tinnitus symptoms.

This article explains whether allergies and allergy medications can cause tinnitus, symptoms and treatments for allergy-induced tinnitus, and when to consult a doctor.

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According to a 2020 review, some evidence suggests that nasal allergies, or allergic rhinitis (AR), can affect the Eustachian tubes. These tubes connect the middle ear to the back of the nose.

Specifically, AR may cause a condition called Eustachian tube dysfunction (ETD), which can cause symptoms such as muffled hearing and tinnitus. However, not every case of ETD occurs due to AR.

In ETD, the Eustachian tubes cannot perform their three main functions. These are:

  1. equalizing pressure in the middle ear, which optimizes hearing
  2. draining and clearing secretions and inflammatory products from the middle ear
  3. protecting the middle ear from loud sounds, pathogens such as bacteria or viruses, and nasal secretions

According to the above 2020 review, allergy-induced ETD can result in tinnitus. However, the reviewers note that further research is necessary to understand the working relationship between AR and EDT.

Can allergy medication cause tinnitus?

There is little research to suggest that allergy medications cause tinnitus. On the contrary, a 2021 review lists antihistamines as a potential treatment option for the condition.

Antihistamines are medications that can prevent or relieve allergy symptoms. They work by preventing the effects of a chemical substance called histamine, which the body produces during an allergic reaction.

A person who experiences allergy-induced tinnitus may develop symptoms of AR and tinnitus.

Allergic rhinitis symptoms

AR symptoms may include:

Tinnitus symptoms

In most cases, tinnitus causes a sound in the absence of any external noise. Many people with tinnitus perceive a ringing in their ears. However, some may perceive other sounds, such as:

  • buzzing
  • hissing
  • whistling
  • swooshing
  • clicking
  • music, although this is rare

There is no medication that can cure most types of tinnitus. However, treating the underlying cause may help reduce or eliminate symptoms. As such, the treatment for allergy-induced tinnitus may involve treating AR.

The most effective way to treat AR is to avoid contact with triggering substances. Where this is not possible or effective, a person can consider other treatment options, such as:

  • Nasal rinses: Saline rinses can help reduce mucus and flush allergens from the nasal passages.
  • Nasal sprays: These are medications a person sprays in the nostrils to reduce swelling and inflammation of the nasal passages. Examples include corticosteroid nasal sprays and antihistamine nasal sprays.
  • Antihistamines: Oral or topical medications that reduce histamine levels to relieve allergy symptoms.

If the above treatments are ineffective, doctors may recommend immunotherapy. This long-term treatment alters the body’s immune response to allergens and helps prevent allergic reactions or reduce their severity.

A person needs to speak with a doctor if they experience AR or tinnitus symptoms. AR is one of many underlying health conditions that may cause tinnitus, so a doctor may wish to rule out other causes.

The most common cause of tinnitus is damage to the auditory system. Other possible reasons include:

Once a doctor determines the cause of someone’s tinnitus, they can recommend appropriate treatments.

Tinnitus involves perceiving sounds, typically in the absence of any external auditory input.

Some research suggests that nasal allergies may cause inflammation of the Eustachian tubes that connect the nose and ears, which may cause tinnitus. However, further research is necessary to understand this link.

Although there is no single cure for tinnitus, treating the underlying cause can help reduce or eliminate this symptom. A person who experiences tinnitus due to allergies needs to consult a doctor about allergy treatments.