There are three parts that make up your ear. They are the outer, middle and inner. These all play an important role in you having the ability to hear.
Sound waves are received by your outer ear. Your eardrum is made to vibrate as these sound waves travel to your middle ear. The vibrations then move through three tiny bones that are known as ossicles. Your ossicles are located in your middle ear.
These vibrations then travel to your inner ear. You inner ear is an organ that is shaped like a snail. Your inner ear produces the nerve impulses that are sent to your brain. Your brain recognizes them as sounds.
Your inner ear is what controls balance. As a result, if you have an episode of vertigo or dizziness, it is usually an indication that you have some type of problem with your inner ear. There are several different disorders that may affect your balance or hearing. Because of this, there are several different kinds of inner ear problems that you may develop.
What is Autoimmune Sensorineural Hearing Loss?
Autoimmune sensorineural hearing loss (ASNHL), which is also referred to as autoimmune inner ear disease (AIED), is an inner ear syndrome. It is a disease that is marked by dizziness and/or progressive hearing loss that is brought about by immune antibodies or cells attacking your inner ear.
Thankfully, autoimmune sensorineural hearing loss is a rare disease. Autoimmune sensorineural hearing loss is estimated to represent less than 1% of all of the cases of hearing impairment or dizziness in the United States.
As mentioned above, autoimmune sensorineural hearing loss is an immune system disease. What this means is that your immune system that normally attacks anything foreign that invades your body, for some unknown reason, starts to send cells or antibodies to attack some of the healthy tissue and cells of your own body.
In the instance of autoimmune sensorineural hearing loss, your immune system attacks your inner ear. Once again, at the present time, no one has been able to determine what causes your immune system to do this.
Risk Factors - Autoimmune Sensorineural Hearing Loss
There are some risk factors that may increase your likelihood of having autoimmune sensorineural hearing loss. Some of these include:
- Having another autoimmune disease, such as Graves' disease or Cogan's disease
- An inherited genetic predisposition for autoimmune diseases
Signs Symptoms you may have Autoimmune Sensorineural Hearing Loss
The signs and symptoms that you may experience with autoimmune sensorineural hearing loss are similar to those caused by other inner ear disorders. Some of the signs and symptoms that you may experience are:
- Hearing loss that may get progressively worse over a period of weeks and months
- Aural fullness (this is a feeling of pressure or fullness in your ear)
- Vertigo (a sensation that feels like you or the world around you is spinning)
- Hearing loss that develops in one of your ears and quickly progresses and moves to your other ear, also
- Tinnitus (this is whistling, hissing, ringing, buzzing or roaring in your ears)
- An impairment in your ability to understand speech
- Fluctuation in your hearing (you may have "good days" and "bad days").
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