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Living With Psoriatic Arthritis Induced Fluctuating Hearing Loss

People don’t really understand all of the possible implications of what it means to have psoriatic arthritis.

Painful joints? Yes.

Swollen digits? Yes.

Fatigue? Absolutely.

But there are so many more avenues that psoriatic arthritis can wreak havoc on our lives. Many people struggle with additional issues such as uveitis or plantar fasciitis. In my case, it is fluctuating hearing loss. I first experienced hearing loss before I even knew I had psoriatic arthritis. It turned my life upside down then, and the craziness hasn’t stopped since.

Day to day life with traditional hearing loss is challenging enough. For many causes of hearing loss, such as the age related or congenital variety, the actual progression of hearing loss occurs in a steadily worsening pattern. However, in my experience, PsA related fluctuating hearing loss follows no such progression. Some days my hearing loss is tolerable, while other days, I feel like I can barely hear anything. According to my doctor, the expectation is that my hearing would gradually decline until it “settles” around the moderate to severe level. Well, it has been roughly two years now and it has yet to “settle” anywhere. On any given day, my hearing loss can go anywhere from mild to moderate to severe.

Fluctuating hearing loss comes with many challenges

Money

Like most things medical related, losing your hearing comes with a hefty price tag. Oddly enough, unless you are a veteran or qualify for special services, you will end up paying for hearing aides out of pocket in the United States. They are rarely covered by health insurance providers. Trust me, these babies aren’t cheap. A middle-of-the-road pair will easily set you back several thousand dollars, not to mention the fitting fees and maintenance costs.

Reliability

PsA related fluctuating hearing loss can make it almost impossible to know what to expect on a day to day basis. The up and down nature of the hearing loss makes it very difficult get used to any particular level of hearing loss. It can make it hard to know what to expect in different social situations or events. Not knowing at what level you will be able to hear from one day to the next makes planning quite difficult.

Frustrations

For the most part, feeling frustrated with hearing loss is mostly felt by those trying to communicate with me. Although I’ll admit, saying, “Huh?” can get pretty old too. Normally, when people experience hearing loss, it takes a bit of time to get used to wearing hearing aids, but eventually, with the right programming for your hearing loss, you will adjust. However, my hearing changes, sometimes daily, making it extremely difficult to adjust to effectively wearing hearing aids. Some days they are too loud, other days they aren’t loud enough. Constantly adjusting them up and down is frustrating and exhausting.

Unforeseen benefits of living with hearing loss

One of the perks of hearing loss, however severe it may be on any given day, is that it is easy to “tune out” things that I don’t necessarily want to hear. My children are young so my house if filled with many of those lovely children’s toys that play the same obnoxious songs over and over again. Some days, I am lucky enough to me pretty blissfully unaware. I’ve also discovered that I have a deeply hidden talent of lip reading. Between still being able to hear some things and this amazing talent, I can usually get by with most people not even knowing I can’t hear them. And if not, the difference between what I hear and what is said is always good for a chuckle.

One of the most important parts of my fluctuating hearing loss is I have even been able to notice that my hearing loss always gets worse, very shortly before a flare. This little signal allows me a little notice to make sure I get myself home and rest.

Do you struggle living with PsA related fluctuating hearing loss? Have you found any tips or tricks to make life just a little easier?

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Psoriatic-Arthritis.com team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Comments

  • DILLON
    2 months ago

    I was unaware PSA can affect hearing. I have an appt next week. I’ve been experiencing feeling of my ears popping. As well as major selective hearing. Thanks. Cheers.

  • Jake moderator
    1 month ago

    @dillon – Hope the appt went well. Was your doctor able to offer any insight? -Jake, Psoriatic-Arthritis.com Team

  • LauraCox
    2 years ago

    I thought I was going crazy. I have gone in and had my hearing checked. It did show that there was some tone deafness and mild hearing loss. In my 40s that is not that abnormal. However their diagnosis did not seem nearly as bad as I felt it was. There are days I can barely hear. I have had days when I have to have the television or computer sound up rather high. I even took an online test for hearing and failed it. So this article is comforting in a way. I am glad to know that it is not my brain playing tricks on me. I have even tried to say that maybe it was allergies or something. Thank you for sharing. -Laura

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