Rheumatoid Arthritis and Hearing Loss

smiling man cupping hand to both ears

Here is a brief guide on the link between hearing loss and rheumatoid arthritis.

The Link Between Rheumatoid Arthritis and Hearing Loss

Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory autoimmune rheumatic disease. Essentially, it causes inflammation of the joints. Although your ears don’t bend in the same way as other parts of your body, they do have joints inside them. These connect tiny bones that are vital to the function of the ear.

If these joints become inflamed due to rheumatoid arthritis, it can impair their function. The end result is that you may experience hearing loss. It’s also worth noting that the likelihood of being diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis increases with age. The likelihood of being diagnosed with hearing loss also increases with age. Therefore, the two factors may coincide.

Treating Hearing Loss Caused by Rheumatoid Arthritis

In practical terms, hearing loss caused by rheumatoid arthritis is treated in much the same way as any other kind of hearing loss. An audiologist will assess the extent of your hearing loss. They will then work with you to find an appropriate solution for your needs, wants and budget.

If you have been recently diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, it’s a good idea to book regular appointments with an audiologist. That way your hearing can be professionally monitored. You can then get any recommended treatment in the shortest possible time.

Realistically, however, that option may not be convenient for everyone. An alternative would therefore be to monitor your own hearing with online hearing tests or app-based hearing tests. These are, currently, unable to provide anything near the standard of testing you would expect from an audiologist. They can, however, be a useful short-term stopgap.

It is, however, very important to visit an audiologist as soon as you begin to detect that you are experiencing hearing loss. The sooner you get professional help, the sooner you will be able to resolve any issues caused by the symptoms of hearing loss.

What to Expect At A Hearing Assessment

You will be provided with somewhere comfortable to sit or lie and a pair of headphones. Everything else will be down to your audiologist. They will play you a selection of sounds and ask you to respond to them in some way. For example, they may ask you to press a button.

Your audiologist will be analyzing your ability to detect both volume and frequency. They may also test your ability to perceive speech. An audiologist will test both ears, usually together and separately. This is because you may have a different experience of hearing loss in different ears.

Once your audiologist has an accurate assessment of your experience of hearing loss, they’ll work with you to assess the best solution for your needs. In many cases, this is likely to be a hearing aid. If so, they’ll guide you through your options, so you choose the best hearing aid for your lifestyle.

Hearing Aid Options

Modern hearing aids can generally be classed into one of three main types. These are behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids, in-the-ear (ITE) hearing aids and in-the-canal (ITC) hearing aids.

Behind the Ear

BTE hearing aids are visible. At least, they can be. If you want, you can choose a statement BTE hearing aid. These tend to be more popular with children, but adults can use them too.

The fact that BTE hearing aids are large enough to be visible means that they are large enough to be handled easily. This can be an important consideration if you have rheumatoid arthritis.

In the Ear

ITE hearing aids are even more discreet than BTE hearing aids. This does, however, mean that they take a bit more dexterity to fit and take off. As such, they may not be ideal for everyone with rheumatoid arthritis.

In the Canal

ITC hearing aids are the smallest of the three main types of hearing aid. As such, they’re the most discreet option. They may, however, be a bit too much of a challenge if you have rheumatoid arthritis.

To learn more, contact Valley Hearing Center today at 831-240-4162.