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Hearing loss with Sjogrens?

I am a 31 female who was diagnosed with Sicca Syndrome approximately 8 years ago. I experience dry mucus membranes and insomnia. I also have had trouble with my hearing that is now noticeable.
I had a hearing test which showed some hearing loss. My ENT wrote a script for an MRI but other than that I don't know where to go from here.
I believe my hearing is being affected by the disorder. I also started
experiencing tinnitus when the dryness started years ago. It also feels like my
ear canals are "empty" and dry.  Can Sicca/Sjogrens affect hearing? Where do I go from here as far as treatment?   I'd appreciate a response I feel very lost about this.  Thanks, Laura.

A:  Yes, hearing loss can be associated with Sjogren's.  Check PubMed and search 'hearing loss and Sjogren's'. It is usually mild. It is not known why this occurs but inflammation and autoimmunity are felt to play a role. It is a sensorineural hearing loss (check Wikipedia Encyclopedia-sensorineural hearing loss), involving the 8th (VIII) cranial nerve. Cranial neuropathies occur frequently in primary Sjogrens.  Occassionally a more aggressive form of autoimmune hearing loss can occur (usually in one ear), which is treated with oral steroids and injections of steroids in the inner ear. A MRI is indicated to rule out a serious condition, acoustic neuroma, which can be treated surgically. Ringing in the ear (tinnitis) goes along with this. After your MRI, discuss the relationship of hearing loss with your ENT and make sure they are aware of (or can research) the association of hearing loss and Sjs.

The ear canals can become dry and itchy with Sjs. Some find applying Vitamin E oil with a Q-tip GENTLY in the ear canal to be helpful for the dryness.

Check out HEENT in the list on the right of this page for more general information.


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