Psoriatic Arthritis and Hearing Loss

Reviewed by: HU Medical Review Board | Last reviewed: February 2024 | Last updated: February 2024

Psoriatic arthritis (PsA) is a challenging autoimmune condition that not only affects the joints but can also affect other parts of the body, including the ears. While the primary symptoms of PsA are related to the joints, researchers have discovered a link between PsA and hearing loss.1

How can psoriatic arthritis lead to hearing loss?

The exact reasons behind this connection are not fully understood. However, experts believe inflammation is a key factor. PsA causes the immune system to mistakenly attack healthy tissues. This leads to inflammation in various parts of the body, including the inner ear.1-4

The inner ear contains delicate structures that translate sound waves into electrical signals that the brain can interpret. Inflammation in this area can disrupt these processes, leading to hearing problems.5

A 2019 study showed that people with PsA have a higher risk of hearing problems than people without PsA. Other studies have linked hearing loss with other autoimmune conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, and lupus.1,2

In addition, some medicines – like aspirin, NSAIDs like ibuprofen, and Tylenol – that are used to manage PsA may have side effects that can lead to inner ear damage. Studies have found that the more a person takes these drugs over time, the greater their likelihood is of developing a hearing issue.1

What are other symptoms besides hearing loss?

Problems with the inner ear can affect other processes besides the ability to hear. Inner ear problems can cause:1,4

  • Dizziness
  • Vertigo (a disturbing sense of being in motion)
  • Ringing in the ear (tinnitus)

How common is hearing loss in psoriatic arthritis?

Not everyone with PsA will experience hearing loss. But studies have shown a higher rate of hearing loss among people with PsA compared to people who do not have PsA. Total deafness caused by PsA is extremely rare.1-3

Treatment and management

The first step toward treating hearing loss for those living with PsA is to treat the PsA as a whole. Addressing overall inflammation is usually the first step. Your doctor may prescribe certain medicines or suggest lifestyle changes to tackle inflammation.1

If needed, your doctor also may refer you to an audiologist, a doctor who specializes in hearing. This doctor can evaluate your hearing and recommend the next steps to take.1

If you have PsA and notice changes in your hearing, contact your doctor right away. Open communication with your healthcare team can help ensure that you get the best care and can maintain your quality of life

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