Woman scratching at psoriasis not realizing it can lead to hearing loss.

When you think of psoriasis, you most likely think about all those commercials depicted people with skin issues. Psoriasis is more than skin problems and actually impacts your general health. Psoriasis is commonly misunderstood and minimized, due to a lack of knowledge of how psoriasis impacts sufferers as well as the serious conditions that can be related to this disorder. Though plaques on the skin are its most apparent sign, they’re indicative of what psoriasis can do throughout the body: The chance of metabolic disorders that are increased by persistent irritation and cardiovascular disease.

New research strengthens the body of research linking another serious issue to psoriasis: Hearing loss. Published in The Journal of Rheumatology, this study looked at connections between psoriatic arthritis, mental health, and hearing impairment. Psoriatic arthritis is a form of psoriasis where inflammation is centered near the joints, causing inflammation, pain, and difficulty with movement. Affected individuals may also have psoriasis, but with psoriatic arthritis, it’s possible to have inflammation without also having the common plaques.

With psoriatic arthritis, the body is essentially attacking its own healthy tissue in the same way that it does with rheumatoid arthritis because they are all autoimmune diseases. But as opposed to rheumatoid arthritis, you might have psoriatic arthritis on only one knee because it’s asymmetrical, and that aside from joints, it often impacts sufferer’s nails (bringing about painfully swollen fingers and toes) and eyes.

Based on the findings of this recent study, swelling caused by psoriatic arthritis may also impact hearing. The researchers contrasted the self-reported hearing loss of people who suffer from psoriatic arthritis, people who have psoriasis but not psoriatic arthritis, and a big control group of people who had neither condition. They discovered that hearing impairment was more likely to be reported by the group that suffered from psoriasis, and those reports were supported by audiometric screening. Even when other risk considerations are considered, people diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis were significantly more prone to have loss of hearing than either {the control group or psoriasis sufferers}.

But there is an evident link between psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis and loss of hearing. A 2015 study found that there is a significantly higher risk, for people with psoriasis, of developing sudden sensorineural loss of hearing, or sudden deafness. The capacity to hear decreases considerably over three days or less with sudden sensoroneural hearing loss. There are various potential causes for this, but researchers think that sudden psoriasis flare-ups may be to blame. The hearing could be diminished if this occurs around or in the cochlea. In some instances, treatments that help psoriasis symptoms could be used to deal with this type of hearing loss, but hearing aids are often recommended when sudden deafness doesn’t respond to other treatments.

It’s important to keep track of your hearing if you have psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis. Schedule regular hearing tests along with your annual health-care checkups. Disease related to inflammation can lead to injury of the inner ear, which can lead to psoriasis and loss of balance. There are also connections between psoriatic arthritis and psoriasis, depression and anxiety, which can both exacerbate hearing loss. Loss of hearing is something you want to detect sooner rather than later because neglected hearing loss can result in other health concerns including dementia.

With early intervention, you can keep ahead of the symptoms by getting your hearing tested regularly and working with your doctor, awareness is crucial. Neither hearing loss nor psoriasis should cause you to sacrifice your quality of life, and all the difference is having the correct team on your side.