How To Manage Psoriatic Arthritis Related Fluctuating Hearing Loss
Last updated: July 2021
Let me start this article by saying, if you suspect that you are experiencing hearing loss of any sort, related to your psoriatic arthritis or not, please speak with your doctor. I'd like to make it a point that my hearing loss journey is and will not be the same as yours.
Hearing loss and psoriatic arthritis
That said, isn't it interesting that with everything going on with our bodies, something that would normally be considered a “big deal” - such as hearing - can get reprioritized over and over again in favor of the things that tend to “yell” a little louder. Such as painful joints and rashes. It's just part of living a life with psoriatic arthritis.
Can treatment help?
If you’ve had your PsA for at least a few years now, you’ve probably learned how to identify some of the signs that your medication may not be working. Many of these signs are continuous swollen joints, more itchy rashes, and increased fatigue just to name a few.
Over the course of the pandemic, my current biologic has become slowly and steadily less and less effective. Weeks would go by and the arthritis gods were not smiling upon me. My body began another bumpy and painful decline. My ability to hear fell by the wayside along with the rest of my body.
In my case, hearing loss is one key way that I monitor the efficacy of my current treatment. Well surprise, surprise, my biologic took a nosedive and took my hearing with it. While my screaming joints were plenty loud enough to give me a pretty clear picture about what was going on, my ears are always the first to become immediately inflamed and the last to finally chill out.
Let's talk hearing hurdles
It has been a long and tedious journey to get this far in my hearing loss. I’m at the point where I’ve worn hearing aids of several varieties with varying degrees of success.
So here I sit, between effective treatments, barely hearing my life going on around me. I find myself also reluctant to manage the arduous task of modifying the settings on my hearing aids. The other option would be to spend thousands (yes, literally thousands) for new hearing aids that would work with my phone. Partnered with all the complex sound patterns that I have in my everyday life, neither choice is a good one.
So, what can help?
Lo and behold, while desperately searching for a better answer, I stumbled upon Apple’s AirPod Pros. Not only that but the combination of the AirPod Pros and their iOs 14 update. It is this combination that became the answer to getting over all of my psoriatic arthritis-related hearing loss issues! It turns out, you actually can use AirPod Pros as a form of hearing aids.
Setting them up is easy: If you are interested in the technical details that make this possible, I’ll let you in on a secret, it isn’t difficult. And I’d help you through it step-by-step, but honestly, there are already several well-done videos on YouTube that can walk you through the ridiculously easy process.
They are much more affordable: Retailing for anywhere between $200 and $250, it is a much more affordable option than traditional hearing aids. Getting it all set up took me about 10 minutes. It wasn't difficult at all! I’ve never had anything more than the old-school plug-in headphones, so my experience with the whole “cordless” earphones of any sort was pretty limited. But really, Apple products as a whole are pretty intuitive and the Airpod Pros are no exception.
Find ways to make life just a little bit easier
I know there may not be a large sect of PsA sufferers who experience hearing loss fluctuations (permanent or not), but for those of us who do, I have to say that these really do an amazing job of addressing many of the specific challenges we face.
Not to mention, if like me, your hearing fluctuates depending on the efficacy of your medicine, it is insanely easy to make any adjustments that need to be made. Even if they need to be changed daily, you can do it from the comfort of your favorite chair! For me, and I suspect for many others as well, this is truly a "game-changing" option!
What products have you found helpful to support your hearing loss?
Do you usually need to recover from a vacation?