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Woman scratching at psoriasis not realizing it can lead to hearing loss.

The word psoriasis normally conjures up images of people with skin problems like the ones on all those advertisements. Psoriasis affects your general health and not only your skin. Psoriasis is frequently misunderstood and minimized, due to a lack of knowledge of how psoriasis impacts sufferers as well as the serious conditions that can be related to this disorder. Even though plaques on the skin are its most obvious indicator, they’re indicative of what psoriasis can cause in the whole body: The risk of metabolic conditions that are increased by persistent irritation and cardiovascular disease.

New research strengthens the body of research linking another significant problem to psoriasis: Hearing loss. Published in The Journal of Rheumatology, this research considered connections between psoriatic arthritis, mental health, and hearing impairment. Psoriatic arthritis is a type of psoriasis where inflammation is centered near the joints, causing pain, difficulty with movement, and swelling. The common plaques may not be experienced by people who have psoriatic arthritis.

Like rheumatoid arthritis (and similar to psoriasis), psoriatic arthritis is an autoimmune illness, the sufferer’s body is basically targeting its own healthy cells. But unlike rheumatoid arthritis, you could have psoriatic arthritis on only one knee because it’s asymmetrical, and it doesn’t only affect joints but contributes to painfully swollen fingers and toes while it targets sufferer’s nails and eyes.

Based on the findings of this recent study, hearing could also be impacted by psoriatic arthritis. A significant control group of people with neither psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis were compared to people who had one or the other problem. They found that the group with psoriatic arthritis was more inclined to report hearing loss, and audiometric testing supported the self-reports. Even when other risk factors are taken into consideration, psoriatic arthritis sufferers were significantly more prone to suffer from hearing loss than either {the control group or psoriasis sufferers}.

But that’s not to say there’s no link between psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis and loss of hearing. A 2015 study discovered that people who have been diagnosed with psoriasis are at a substantially higher risk of developing sudden sensorineural loss of hearing, also known as sudden deafness. With sudden sensorineural hearing loss, sufferer’s ability to hear diminishes considerably in three days or less. There are numerous potential causes for this, but experts theorize that people who have psoriasis are at higher risk due to the kind of quick inflammation that happens during a flare-up of psoriasis symptoms. The hearing may be diminished if this happens around or in the cochlea. In many cases, treatments that relieve psoriasis symptoms may be used to target this kind of hearing loss, but hearing aids are often recommended when sudden deafness does not respond to other treatments.

It’s worthwhile to keep track of your hearing if you suffer from psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis. Schedule regular hearing exams along with your annual health-care appointments. The inflammation due to these diseases can lead to inner ear injury, which can lead to loss of hearing as well as troubles with balance. psoriatic arthritis and psoriasis are both also connected with depression and anxiety, both of which can be additionally aggravated by loss of hearing. Loss of hearing is something you want to catch sooner rather than later because untreated loss of hearing can result in other health problems such as dementia.

Recognition is key, and working with your doctors and frequently getting your hearing examined can help you keep in front of symptoms with early intervention. Neither hearing loss nor psoriasis should cause you to sacrifice your quality of life, and all the difference is having the proper team by your side.