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

When you think of psoriasis, you most likely recall all those commercials depicted people with skin issues. Psoriasis affects your general health and not just your skin. Psoriasis is often 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 visible symptom, they’re indicative of what psoriasis can do in the whole body: The risk of metabolic disorders that are increased by chronic inflammation and cardiovascular disease.

Psoriasis is also connected to another concern according to a different recent study: Hearing loss. Published in The Journal of Rheumatology, this study looked at links between psoriatic arthritis, mental health, and hearing impairment. Psoriatic arthritis is a form of psoriasis where inflammation is concentrated near the joints, causing inflammation, soreness, and difficulty moving. The tell-tale plaques may not be experienced by people who suffer from psoriatic arthritis.

When someone has psoriatic arthritis, the body is basically attacking its own healthy cells in the same way that it does with rheumatoid arthritis because they are all autoimmune diseases. But psoriatic arthritis varies from rheumatoid arthritis in that it’s often asymmetrical (so you could have it in one knee but not the other), and it doesn’t only impact joints but leads to painfully swollen toes and fingers while it targets sufferer’s nails and eyes.

Based on the findings of this recent study, hearing may also be affected by psoriatic arthritis. The researchers compared the self-reported hearing loss of people who suffer from psoriatic arthritis, people who suffer from psoriasis but not psoriatic arthritis, and a big control group of people with neither problem. They found that the group with psoriatic arthritis was more inclined to have hearing loss, and audiometric testing backed up the self-reports. Even when other risk considerations are considered, psoriatic arthritis sufferers were significantly more prone to suffer from loss of hearing than either {psoriasis sufferers or the control group}.

But there is an evident link between psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis and loss of hearing. A 2015 study discovered that there is a substantially higher danger, for people who have psoriasis, of developing sudden sensorineural loss of hearing, otherwise known as sudden deafness. With sudden sensorineural hearing loss, sufferer’s ability to hear diminishes significantly in three days or less. It has several potential causes, but scientists theorize that people who have psoriasis are at higher risk because of the type of rapid inflammation that occurs during a flare-up of psoriasis symptoms. If this occurs in or near the cochlea, it might impair hearing. In certain instances, treatments that alleviate psoriasis symptoms could be used to manage this kind of hearing loss, but hearing aids are often recommended when other treatments don’t seem to be helping.

If you have psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis, it’s worthwhile to observe your hearing. Schedule your annual healthcare appointment along with normal hearing exams. The inflammation from these diseases can lead to damage of the inner ear, which can result in loss of balance and psoriatic arthritis. There are also links between psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis, depression and anxiety, both of which can be additionally exacerbated by loss of hearing. Loss of hearing is something you want to catch early because neglected loss of hearing can lead to other health concerns such as dementia.

With early intervention, you can keep in front of the symptoms by having your hearing examined periodically and working with your doctor, knowledge is key. You shouldn’t have to sacrifice your standard of living for psoriasis or for loss of hearing, and having the correct team on your side can make a huge difference.

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