Monday, January 21, 2019

Say WHAT? -- Sjogren's Syndrome and Hearing

Image found on Wikimedia, here.

A reader recently sent me an email asking if Sjogren's Syndrome can contribute to hearing problems. I told her that my short answer was "yup"; then told her that I would provide a more complete answer in an upcoming post. And, as promised, here it is.

Although I knew that autoimmune diseases can impact hearing, I was surprised to learn how prevalent this problem is for those of us who have reluctantly joined the Sjogren's Syndrome club.

Here are links and excerpts from two well written articles. The first is from the Vestibular Disorders Association or VeDA, found here:
What is autoimmunity? How is it connected to vestibular disorders? 
Parts of the immune system, working constantly and behind the scenes, patrol the body in search of foreign invaders and relentlessly attack them once found. On rare occasions, in some people the immune system runs amok, identifies the body itself as foreign, and launches a lethal attack. This self-attack is referred to as an autoimmune reaction. 
The immune system can attack just the ear, attack the ear and some other body part like the eye, or attack the entire body (including the ear). An autoimmune reaction also creates debris. Even if the ear is not being directly attacked, it can end up with debris transported from distant locations and deposited by the circulation. This debris in the ear can cause problems. 
Some autoimmune disorders that can affect the ear include Cogan’s syndrome, relapsing polychondritis, polyarteritis nodosa, Wegener’s granulomatosis, systemic lupus erythematosus, ulcerative colitis, Sjogren’s syndrome, and rheumatoid arthritis. (Bolding mine - Julia) Continue reading here
This was found on Sjogren's Syndrome News, found here.
Sjögren Syndrome Patients Show Early Signs of Hearing Loss, Study Finds
by Patricia Inacio, PhD
Women with Sjögren syndrome show particularly high levels of hearing loss and language recognition impairments compared to healthy women or those with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), study reports. 
The research, “Early hearing loss detection in rheumatoid arthritis and primary Sjögren syndrome using extended high frequency audiometry,” was published in the journal Clinical Rheumatology. 
Hearing loss is a common feature in patients with autoimmune diseases. It is hypothesized that the condition is caused by autoantibodies that damage the inner ear, but the exact mechanisms are not fully known. 
In an attempt to understand the audiological behavior of patients with rheumatoid arthritis and primary Sjögren syndrome with those of healthy subjects, researchers recruited patients from the Center of Specialties in Arthritis and Rheumatology at the University Hospital Dr. José Eleuterio González in Monterrey, Mexico, between August 2014 and August 2016. Continue reading here
Do you experience hearing loss as part of your autoimmune disease manifestations?


annie said...

Hi Julia,

I'm not sure if it is autoimmune related, but I suffer from tinnitus, menieres disease, and have had spinning vertigo in the past. Horrible things to deal with as you feel dizzy, off balance, nauseous, and have that buzzing/ringing in your ears to contend with most of the time. The menieres can happen suddenly and last for quite a few days. I have lost some hearing in one of my ears more so than the other, so far! said...

Hi Julia, I also have tinnitus as Annie mentioned and regular dizziness but it has not been diagnosed as menieres. But I've wanted to know for a number of years if lack of earwax is a symptom of Sjogren's? Several years ago I had intense itching inside my ear, I actually felt like my brain was itching! I ended up at an ENT office and the doctor came in, looked into the that was NOT itching and proclaimed " Well I see the problem, you have no wax whatsoever in your ears." Anytime the itching returns I put oil in the ear. Is this common? My Mychophenalate doesn't seem to help with it.
Thanks! Dianne

peggy said...

I have hearing loss greater in one ear...but in both, the eustachian tubes seem to close up, requiring me to balance the pressure in my ears by holding my nose and mimick blowing my nose at the same time to open the tubes. It definitely works but only for a short if I am at a lecture or movie I clear my tubes many, many times.
Trying to delay a getting a hearing aide ...I know that day is coming soon...

Maureen T said...

I have Sjogren's Syndrome of 50 years duration. My left Eustachian tube is stuck open (took 2 years for accurate diagnosis even though I knew from my research what was wrong); this fully happened mid-2015. Now (started about Oct 2020) my right ear pops all the time, not just now and then but rapidly maybe half a dozen times then might stop for briefly then start again, seemingly totally at random. This is not a stuck open (patulous) Eustachian tube because it happensd even when lying down and I often wake with it in the morning. My feeling is that it is probably the right Eustachian tube popping that is Sjogren's related, possibly because the membranes, being dry, become sticky. I have no idea what caused the patulous Eustachian tube. I do, with all the other Sjogren's symptoms and others beside (I am about to turn 76), feel most unloved by the universe!

Unknown said...

Yes. I have quite significant hearing problems (from childhood onwards, no2 aged 60 (2022). I have considerable hearing loss in both ears (bilateral) from childhood, but my left one is quite severe. I also have bilateral continuous Tinnitus (however, I also have injury to cervical spine C4-C7 & I suffer from chronic severe Migraine with brainstem aura). I'm also unable to suppress surround sound or faze out unwanted background sound.