Your least favorite allergen is in the air, you’ve got the sniffles, and your ears feel clogged, all of which gets you to wondering… Can allergies cause ear infections?

 When we think of allergies, ear infections are rarely the first side effect that comes to mind. But the truth is, allergies can contribute to ear infections. That means patients struggling with allergies—from the less robust winter allergies in Florida to the ragweed inundation of summer and spring—are more at risk for developing ear infections than those without allergies. 

Learn how your allergies and ear infections may be connected, and which treatment options could be available to you.  

How do allergies cause ear infections?

When your body is allergic to something, one of its ways of “protecting” you from the potential threat of the allergen is to produce excess mucus as a means of keeping allergen particles from entering the rest of your body. Meanwhile, when the allergen does come into contact with your sinus tissues, those tissues can become enlarged and inflamed.

All of these reactions—the inflammation, the excess mucus, and the issues with chronic sinus drainage—can lead to ear infections. When excess mucus is unable to exit the body, many patients experience chronic drainage issues, including a buildup of fluid and puss in the middle ear.   

And like your sinus tissues, the membrane surrounding the eustachian tube can also become inflamed. When this happens a build-up of fluid and pressure can occur in the middle ear, leading to a painful ear infection.

Ear allergy symptoms

Ear infections are one of the top reasons for visits to a children’s doctor. The bones surrounding the middle ear and the air-filled space behind the eardrum are much more delicate in children, which makes them more prone to infections and other issues.

Look out for these signs that your child might have an ear infection:

  • Tugging at the ear or earlobes
  • Discomfort when lying down (learn why sinusitis is worse at night)
  • Ear pain and headaches
  • Fluid drainage from the ear
  • Balance issues
  • Trouble hearing
  • Fever

If your child is especially prone to ear infections, your doctor may recommend that your child be given ear tubes and/or have their adenoids removed.

Symptom FAQ 1: Can allergies cause ear infections in adults?

Although allergy-related ear infections (also called otitis media) are less common in adults than they are in children, they can still occur. 

Symptom FAQ 2: Can allergies cause ear drainage? 

Yes, drainage of fluid or puss can and often does occur during an ear infection. If you notice more fluid than usual, this may be a sign that your eardrum has ruptured. 

Symptom FAQ 3: How can I tell I have an ear infection and not something else? 

If you find the symptoms of allergy-related ear infections confusingly similar to those of sinusitis ear infections, you are not alone. Luckily, we can help! Just check out our guide to the difference between allergies and sinusitis.

Symptom FAQ 4: Can food allergies cause fluid in the ears? 

Yes. While more research needs to be done on the subject, food allergies have been shown to result in fluid in the ears and ear infections. 

Ear allergy treatment at Sinus Solutions of South Florida

Now that you know the answer to the question, “Can allergies cause ear infections?” your next question will likely be along the lines of, “What doctor should I see?” or even, “Do you need a referral to see an ENT?” 

An ENT of South Florida can answer questions like these and help you find relief from allergy-related ear infections. Whether you need a round of antibiotics or a more proactive approach to restoring proper sinus drainage (such as balloon sinuplasty), the doctors and staff at Sinus Solutions of South Florida will be with you every step of the way until you find relief. 

Ready to get started? Simply fill out our online form or calling Sinus Solutions of South Florida at 561-790-7744 today.


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