It’s frightening how often people face hearing disorders and the numbers are growing day by day. Only in the United States, there are over 28 million people with hearing loss, and 1% of them are suffering from autoimmune inner ear disease or AIED in short. 

Generally speaking, autoimmune inner ear disease is a rare hearing-loss disorder that affects 15 out of 100,000 people in their middle age, mostly women. So, in this article, you will find a detailed explanation of what AIED is, its causes, as well as the right treatment for proper healing.     

What is AIED?

As we already mentioned, autoimmune inner ear disease is a hearing loss disorder that affects people who have problems with their inner ear nerves. The cells in the inner ear are attacked by the immune system which recognizes them as viruses. All of this can cause vascular issues with inflammation which can directly affect the hearing system. 

On the other hand, autoimmune inner ear disease is not the only condition in which the immune system attacks healthy body parts. According to some reports, nearly 20% of people with AIED are predisposed to other autoimmune diseases. 

Causes and symptoms of AIED

If you are wondering whether you suffer from autoimmune inner ear disease, make sure you have the following symptoms before booking a consultation with your doctor:

  • Progressive SNHL. Sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL) is damage to the inner ear, or more precisely, damage to the nerves that connect the inner ear with the brain. The progress of this disease can cause a hearing loss in both ears which can escalate to the AIED.
  • Constant imbalance. Over 50% of the people with AIED feel imbalance and problems with physical stability, as well as dizziness during the day.
  • Hearing strange noises. The most common AIED symptom is hearing strange whistling noises in the ears. It can be very irritating and many people have no idea how to handle it. In addition, if you are unable to hear soft and quiet sounds it can be a warning sign for AIED.

Moreover, there are other general symptoms, such as fatigue, headache, slight fever, muscle weakness, and so on.

On the other hand, the AIED causes list includes:

  • The immune system attacks the inner ear nerves without control and it forms antibodies that cause hearing loss possibly in both ears.
  • The immune system attacks the Cochlin, a protein located in the inner ear.

Best AIED treatment options

Treating AIED properly requires professional healthcare services and regular meetings with the ENT specialist or otolaryngologist. There are many treatment options for AIED, but you should choose the best one for you after consulting your doctor.

For example, one of the most basic treatments is taking relevant drugs for inflammation. For instance, your doctor can prescribe you a corticosteroid that works well against AIED. Keep in mind that there are many side effects, so make sure to discuss those with your doctor or pharmacist. 

Another way you can treat AIED is by taking medications for your immune system. You should slow your immune system and prevent the healthy body parts from being attacked. The most efficient drugs your doctor can suggest are Cytoxan, Imuran, and Methotrexate.

Last but not least, your doctor can recommend you to try the cochlear implant to handle hearing loss issues. This implant directly affects the inner ear nerves which are connected to the brain. That way the brain receives the signals from the implant and recognizes them as sounds. This implant is usually located behind or inside the ear.

Final thoughts

AIED is a disorder that causes hearing loss and is brought on by an attack by the immune system on the nerves that are located within the inner ear. More and more people suffer from autoimmune inner ear disease and the numbers continue to rise.

The symptoms might vary and include things like unsteadiness and dizziness, weariness, fever, hearing noises that seem like whistling, and hearing loss in both ears, among other things. Always consult your primary care physician or an ENT specialist to determine the most effective course of action to follow in this circumstance so that you can tackle it effectively. Steroids, medications that cure inflammation, medications that slow the immune system down, and the cochlear implant, which can be placed either behind or inside the ear, are the most popular treatment methods.