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

The word psoriasis commonly recalls images of people with skin problems like the ones on all those advertisements. Psoriasis goes beyond skin issues and really impacts your general health. 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. Though plaques on the skin are its most visible sign, they’re indicative of what psoriasis can cause in the whole body: Continuous inflammation that can raise the chance of metabolic problems and cardiovascular disease.

New research reinforces the body of research connecting 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 form of psoriasis where inflammation is centered around the joints, causing pain, difficulty with movement, and swelling. The common plaques might not be experienced by people who have psoriatic arthritis.

In the same way as with rheumatoid arthritis (and like psoriasis), psoriatic arthritis is an autoimmune illness, the sufferer’s body is essentially attacking its own healthy cells. But as opposed to rheumatoid arthritis, you could have psoriatic arthritis on only one knee because it’s asymmetrical, and it doesn’t only affect joints but results in painfully swollen toes and fingers while it targets sufferer’s nails and eyes.

Based on the findings of this recent study, hearing might also be affected by psoriatic arthritis. The researchers compared the self-reported hearing loss of people who have psoriatic arthritis, people who have psoriasis but not psoriatic arthritis, and a large control group of people with neither problem. They discovered that hearing impairment was more likely to be documented by the group that suffered from psoriasis, and those reports were backed by audiometric testing. Even when other risk factors are taken into consideration, psoriatic arthritis sufferers were significantly more prone to suffer from loss of hearing than either {psoriasis sufferers or the control group}.

But that’s not to say there’s no connection between psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis and loss of hearing. A 2015 study found that people who have been diagnosed with psoriasis are at a substantially higher risk of developing sudden sensorineural loss of hearing, also referred to as sudden deafness. With sudden sensorineural hearing loss, sufferer’s ability to hear decreases substantially in three days or less. There are several potential causes for this, but researchers hypothesize that people who have psoriasis are at higher risk as a result of the kind of fast inflammation that takes place during a flare-up of psoriasis symptoms. If this occurs in or near the cochlea, it may impede hearing. In many cases, treatments that decrease psoriasis symptoms could be used to deal with this kind of hearing loss, but hearing aids are often recommended when sudden deafness doesn’t react to other treatments.

It’s worthwhile to monitor your hearing if you suffer from psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis. Plan regular hearing exams along with your yearly health-care checkups. Disease related to inflammation can lead to inner ear injury, which can lead to loss of hearing and troubles with balance. Psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis are both also connected with depression and anxiety, both of which can be additionally exacerbated by loss of hearing. Loss of hearing is something you want to detect early because untreated loss of hearing can lead to other health problems like dementia.

With early intervention, you can stay ahead of the symptoms by having your hearing tested regularly and working with your doctor, comprehension is crucial. Neither hearing loss nor psoriasis should influence you to sacrifice your quality of life, and all the difference is having the correct team by your side.