Are Rheumatoid Arthritis & Hearing Loss Connected?

By 8  am on

Rheumatoid arthritis, or RA, is an autoimmune disease that primarily affects the joints, causing inflammation and pain. Although there’s currently no cure, there are medications that can alleviate some of the symptoms. If the inflammation is allowed to persist over long periods, the joints may become irreversibly damaged. Now, medical experts and scientists also believe a connection between RA and hearing loss may exist. Read on to learn more.

The Connection to Hearing Impairment

Besides degeneration of joints, hearing is also adversely affected in many people with arthritis because of the formation of rheumatoid nodules, degeneration of the bones in the ear, and neuropathy in the auditory nerves. Nearly half of all people diagnosed with RA experience some degree of hearing impairment, and sensorineural hearing loss is the most common. Other factors can contribute as well, such as smoking, alcohol consumption, and previous exposure to high levels of noise. 

If your senior loved one has been diagnosed with a serious condition and needs help with tasks like meal prep, transportation, bathing, and grooming, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of homecare services families can trust. We also offer comprehensive care for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.

Medications for Rheumatoid Arthritis

There are two main types of medicines used to treat RA, and they’re typically referred to using their acronyms: NSAIDS, or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and DMARD, or disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs. Some of these medications are believed to cause damage to the hairlike structures in the cochlea that detect, differentiate, and relay varying frequencies of sound. Hearing loss is one of the possible side effects commonly listed for NSAIDS, so caution must be exercised, and hearing should be frequently tested to monitor for reductions in auditory acuity. 

Living with arthritis can make it challenging for seniors to accomplish certain daily tasks. If your aging loved one needs occasional help with bathing, grooming, cooking, or other basic household tasks, or if you need time to attend to important personal matters, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of live-in and respite care. Montgomery seniors can maintain their independence while living at home with the help of our reliable respite caregivers.

The Roles of Age & Gender

Seniors with RA are far more likely to experience related hearing impairment, especially in cases where the disease has been persistently troublesome. Females tend to develop these problems sooner than men, but both genders have a much greater chance of losing their hearing at a younger age than the rest of the population. This is why it’s important that everyone with RA, as well as their loved ones and caregivers, remain mindful of this potential issue.

Hearing loss is a common occurrence in aging adults, but it doesn’t have to keep them from enjoying the things they love and spending their golden years in the safety and comfort of home. Seniors can face a variety of challenges as they age, many of which can be mitigated with the help of professional in-home caregivers who provide high-quality senior care. Montgomery families trust Home Care Assistance to help their elderly loved ones age in place safely and comfortably. To learn about our high-quality in-home care options, give us a call at (334) 593-3988 today.


    Request Free Information or
    Schedule a Free in-Home Consultation