Tinnitus And Its Connection to Psoriatic Arthritis
There is growing evidence that people with psoriatic arthritis (PsA) may be at risk for hearing problems. In fact, research shows that people living with PsA are more likely to have hearing loss than people who either do not have this condition or who have psoriasis. People with PsA are also at risk for depression, and learning that they have hearing loss can increase this risk.1,2
Many people with hearing loss also have tinnitus, which affects more than 50 million Americans. Tinnitus is often described as “ringing in the ears.” Understanding what tinnitus feels like and learning about some of the support and resources that are available can be helpful.3
What does tinnitus feel like?
Tinnitus does not always present with ringing in the ears. Instead, some people with tinnitus hear things like:3
There are actually 2 types of tinnitus. More than 99 percent of tinnitus cases fall into the “subjective tinnitus” category. In this type, only the person with tinnitus hears the noises. In fewer than 1 percent of all tinnitus cases, the noises that the person hears can also be heard by other people.3
If your doctor thinks you could have tinnitus, your doctor will have you take a hearing exam. Your doctor may also do other tests such as a CT scan or an MRI. If you learn that you have tinnitus, there are treatments that can help.4
How to find relief from tinnitus
Sometimes, pain relievers like aspirin and acetaminophen (Tylenol) may be what is causing your hearing loss. If you take 1 of these drugs, you may be told to reduce your dose or switch to a different medicine.5
Sometimes an antidepressant may be prescribed to help with your symptoms. Certain lifestyle changes may also relieve your symptoms. For instance, stress can make tinnitus worse. Biofeedback, relaxation therapy, and exercise may help you manage stress. A therapist may help you learn coping techniques to relieve your symptoms.6
Tools to help improve tinnitus
Since tinnitus is linked to hearing loss, some people with the condition find relief by using hearing aids. These small electronic devices are worn in or behind the ear. They use a speaker, amplifier, and microphone to increase the sounds you hear and process.
When the external noises you hear are louder thanks to your hearing aid, you may get relief from your tinnitus. Increasing your perception of external noises often gives a person relief from the internal sound of tinnitus.4
Finding support for tinnitus
Lifestyle remedies can also help you. For instance, you may be told to reduce your exposure to things that can make tinnitus worse, like caffeine. If you drink alcohol, your doctor may advise you to reduce your consumption. Alcohol dilates the blood vessels, which can cause a greater flood flow to the inner ear area. This can make your tinnitus worse.6
You can also find online support for your tinnitus. The American Tinnitus Association offers general information about this condition as well as information about support groups.7
If your hearing loss is not treated, it can result in other health concerns. If you have PsA, schedule regular hearing tests along with your annual healthcare checkups in order to monitor your hearing. If a problem is found, you will be able to get prompt treatment.7
How do you plan to recognize PsA Awareness Month?