If you are suffering from an ear disease and you are unsure of its nature or treatment, we recommend that you seek to a professional medical advice from an Ear Nose and Throat Doctor in Coral Springs, Florida. A painful ear can be a symptom of a variety of diseases. Therefore, you should not rush to relieve the pain with over the counter ear drops; instead, you should consult with an ear doctor. Consulting with a doctor from The Hearing Doctors (ENT Associates of South Florida) might help you arrest medical conditions such as autoimmune inner ear disease (AIED), which can worsen if it goes untreated.
What is AIED?
Autoimmune inner ear disease (AIED) is a disorder of progressive dizziness and/or hearing loss that is caused by immune cells or antibodies attacking the inner ear. Often, this condition starts by the patient experiencing a reduction of hearing which is then followed by tinnitus (hissing, ringing, roaring sounds) which occurs over a period of a few months. Close to 50% of patients diagnosed with AIED present symptoms such as unsteadiness or dizziness which are related to balance.
What are the causes of AutoImmune Inner Ear Disease?
There are several causes of AIED:
- Bystander damage- This is when damage to the inner ear causes cytokines to be released which trigger further immune reaction directed towards the inner ear.
- Cross-reactions- This happens when rogue T-cells accidentally damage the inner ear causing antibodies to treat the inner ear as an unwanted antigen.
- Intolerance- The ear has so many antigens some of which the body might not be aware of. So, when your ear releases these antigens, the body might react by releasing antibodies to fight these “foreign” antigens.
- Genetic factors- If you happen to inherit a genetic condition which pre-exposes you to AIED, the likelihood is that you might develop this condition.
How is AIED diagnosed?
A visit to your ear doctor will help him/her check if you contain the symptoms of AIED. The ear nose and throat doctor will conduct a series of tests which include:
- Blood tests for one or more specific inner ear disorders:
- Lymphocyte transformation assay
- Anti-cochlear antibody test.
- Blood tests for AIED:
- Diabetic testing
- Lyme titer
How is AIED is treated?
There are some approaches or remedies that your ear nose and throat doctor can use in addressing AIED. The choice of the method to be used will depend on factors such as the cause of the disease, the severity of the disease, and patient consent. These treatment options include:
- Use of steroids such as dexamethasone or prednisone- though inexpensive, you this treatment cannot be maintained because of the side effects of the steroids.
- Use of cytotoxic agents- This involves the administration of methotrexate or Cytoxan to patients who are allergic to steroids.
iii. Plasmapheresis- This expensive treatment consists of the filtering of blood, just like in dialysis, to remove harmful antibodies from the blood plasma.
- Cell and gene therapy- This entails the transplantation of stem cells in the ear canal and letting these develop into new inner ear cells.
- Cochlear implant- This is prescribed when it is found that the patient has already acquired bilateral deafness.
Contact Us Today!
If you are suffering from a painful ear, make haste and talk to an ENT doctor from The Hearing Doctors (ENT Associates of South Florida). We specialize in dealing with autoimmune inner ear disease among other ENT diseases. Contact us today for a free consultation.