An autoimmune reaction happens when the immune system mistakes the healthy cells and tissues in the body for viruses or bacteria that it needs to fight off. Autoimmune inner ear disease is the result of antibodies attacking the inner ear, causing hearing loss.
Autoimmune inner ear disease symptoms
The main symptom of AIED is a sudden loss of hearing in one ear that progresses quickly to the other ear. This can happen over several weeks or months.
People might also experience accompanying symptoms like:
Issues with balance
A feeling of fullness in the ear
Tinnitus (a ringing in the ears)
A feeling that you or surroundings are spinning (vertigo)
Causes of autoimmune inner ear disease
Although there is no direct cause for AIED, it stems from your body’s immune cells mistaking the cells in your inner ear as a virus or bacteria and then attacking them.
Autoimmune inner ear disease diagnosis
To diagnose AIED, your doctor will perform a number of tests to assess your health and rule out any possible conditions. These might include things like a hearing test, physical exam and a blood test.
Sometimes it might not become clear until your doctor has started you on some form of treatment and your symptoms start to improve.
Treatment process for autoimmune inner ear disease
Most cases can be treated with a course of steroids for a few weeks. After that, your doctor may prescribe a different type of medication that can be taken long-term.
People who experience hearing loss from autoimmune inner ear disease might benefit from wearing hearing aids. If hearing loss is more profound, your doctor may discuss the option of cochlear implant surgery.
It’s important that you see a doctor or hearcare specialist if you experience symptoms of autoimmune inner ear disease as treatment is most effective within the first three months.
Although it cannot be cured, there are treatments options for the symptoms of AIED.
Some cases of automimmune inner ear disease can be due to inherited genetic factors.
No – Ménière’s disease is not an autoimmune disorder in itself, but it can be caused by certain disorder of the immune system. There are many similarities between AIED and Ménière’s disease.