Autoimmune inner ear disease (AIED) is a disease that happens when your body’s immune system mistakenly attacks your inner ear. As a result, this can cause dizziness, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), and hearing loss. Although rare, AIED can lead to sensorineural hearing loss because of damage to the hearing nerve in the inner ear.
It’s important to take care of your hearing health by visiting a hearing specialist if you have noticed a sudden decline in your hearing.
What Causes AIED?
AIED can be caused by a few factors. AIED can occur because the body’s immune system attacks the inner ear protein, forming immune complexes and antibodies. As a result, this can cause sensorineural hearing loss in both ears. Another cause of AIED is when the endolymphatic sac, a structure located within the inner ear, becomes dilated as the immune response of the inner ear.
How to Recognize the Symptoms of AIED
Some common symptoms of AIED include:
- Fluctuating hearing
- Progressive hearing loss in both ears (can occur over a few weeks to months)
- Dizziness or balance difficulty
- Tinnitus or ringing in the ears
- Feeling a fullness in your ears
- Conductive hearing loss (from issues with the eustachian tube)
- Symptoms of another autoimmune disease such as fatigue, muscle aches, or low-grade fever
One of the most common symptoms of AIED is hearing loss. If you are experiencing sudden problems with your hearing, then you should visit a hearing specialist. They will be able to identify what has caused the onset of your hearing loss and help you find the proper treatment.
If you have AIED, then you should visit a doctor who will be able to prescribe a steroid that can help with inflammation or any other symptoms of discomfort. In addition to a steroid, there is medication that can help calm down your immune system, preventing it from attacking your inner ear. It’s important to speak with a medical professional if you are experiencing any symptoms of AIED to address the condition early.
If you have experienced hearing loss from AIED then a hearing specialist can help. A hearing specialist will be able to diagnose your exact degree of hearing loss and fit you with a pair of hearing aids that will allow you to hear again. Hearing aids used in combination with prescribed medication or steroids can help you manage AIED.
If you have experienced a decrease in your hearing ability, then find a hearing specialist near you. They can examine your ears and test your hearing, so you can feel confident that you are being proactive about your health.