Autoimmune Inner Ear Disease
A BATTLE WITHIN SOUND'S REALM
Autoimmune inner ear disease is a rare condition characterized by the immune system attacking the inner ear. It is believed to be an autoimmune disorder where the body's immune response mistakenly targets the structures of the inner ear, leading to inflammation and damage. AIED can result in various symptoms, including sensorineural hearing loss, tinnitus, dizziness, and imbalance.
AIED is a relatively rare condition and is often diagnosed after ruling out other potential causes of hearing loss and balance problems. If you suspect you or someone you know might have AIED, it's essential to consult with a medical professional, preferably an ENT specialist or an audiologist, who can perform the necessary tests and provide appropriate guidance and treatment options.
Diagnosis & Treatment
Diagnosing AIED can be challenging due to its similarity to other inner ear disorders and conditions. A comprehensive medical history, physical examination, and a battery of hearing and balance tests, including audiograms and vestibular tests, are usually conducted to assess the extent of the hearing loss and balance issues.
The treatment approach for AIED often involves immunosuppressive therapy to suppress the immune system's response and reduce inflammation. Corticosteroids (such as prednisone) are commonly used to manage the autoimmune response and alleviate symptoms. Other immunosuppressive medications might be considered if corticosteroids are not effective or have undesirable side effects.
Common reported symptoms of those with autoimmune inner ear disease include:
Progressive sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL) in one or both ears that occurs over weeks to months that is not always the same in both ears
Dizziness or imbalance (approximately 50 percent of AIED cases)
Ringing in the ears, or tinnitus
Ear fullness (approximately 25 to 50 percent of AIED cases)
Conductive hearing loss may be present due to Eustachian tube obstruction from inflamed middle ear lining and/or if AIED is because of systemic autoimmune diseases
Symptoms of systemic autoimmune diseases, such as fatigue, achy muscles, swelling and redness, low-grade fever, and more