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

When you think about psoriasis, you probably recall all those commercials depicted people with skin issues. Psoriasis goes beyond skin issues and truly affects your general health. Psoriasis is commonly 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 apparent sign, they’re indicative of what psoriasis can cause in the whole body: The chance of metabolic conditions that are increased by chronic inflammation 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 study evaluated connections between psoriatic arthritis, mental health, and hearing impairment. Psoriatic arthritis is a form of psoriasis where inflammation is centered near the joints, causing swelling, pain, and difficulty moving. The tell-tale plaques might not be experienced by people who suffer from psoriatic arthritis.

In the same way as with rheumatoid arthritis (and similar to psoriasis), psoriatic arthritis is an autoimmune illness, the sufferer’s body is essentially attacking its own healthy cells. But psoriatic arthritis varies from rheumatoid arthritis because it’s usually asymmetrical (so you could have it in one knee but not the other), and that besides joints, it commonly targets sufferer’s nails (resulting in painfully swollen toes and fingers) and eyes.

Based on the findings of this recent study, inflammation caused by psoriatic arthritis may also affect hearing. A large 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 likely to report hearing loss, and those reports were backed by audiometric screening. Even when other risk considerations are considered, psoriatic arthritis sufferers were significantly more prone to have loss of hearing than either {psoriasis sufferers or the control group}.

But that’s not to say there’s no link between psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis and hearing loss. A 2015 study found that people who have been diagnosed with psoriasis are at a considerably higher risk of developing sudden sensorineural loss of hearing, also known as sudden deafness. The capability to hear decreases significantly over three days or less with sudden sensoroneural hearing loss. It has numerous possible causes, but researchers hypothesize that people who have psoriasis are at higher risk due to the kind of fast inflammation that takes place during a flare-up of psoriasis symptoms. If this occurs in or near the cochlea, it might impair hearing. This kind of hearing loss, in some cases, can be aided by treatments that alleviate psoriasis., but hearing aids are often recommended when other interventions don’t seem to be helping.

It’s worthwhile to monitor your hearing if you have psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis. Schedule regular hearing exams along with your yearly health-care checkups. The inflammation due to these diseases can lead to injury of the inner ear, which can lead to loss of hearing as well as problems with balance. There are also connections between psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis, depression and anxiety, which can both aggravated loss of hearing. Loss of hearing is something you want to detect early because untreated hearing loss can lead to other health issues including dementia.

Awareness is key, and cooperating with your doctors and frequently getting your hearing tested can assist you in keeping ahead of symptoms with timely intervention. You shouldn’t have to sacrifice your standard of living for psoriasis or for hearing loss, and having the correct team by your side can make a huge difference.