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High Prevalence of Systemic Autoimmune Diseases in Patients with Menière's Disease

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High Prevalence of Systemic Autoimmune Diseases in Patients with Menière's Disease. Despite some limitations, Meniere's Disease (MD) displays an elevated prevalence of systemic autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA), systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and ankylosing spondylitis (AS). PLoS One. 2011;6(10):e26759. (Also see: Autoimmune Ear Disease)


This item was posted in the ISN Newsroom. Please check the newsroom daily for updates on scleroderma and other related articles.


Craig Roothoff

ISN Assistant News Guide

International Scleroderma Network(ISN)

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I found this a very interesting article as my husband suffers with this unpleasant disease.


In his case it's certainly made worse by stressful situations (apart from being married to me!! ;) :lol: ) and at first he had frequent bouts of nausea and dizziness and he would be collapsing, vomiting and absolutely incapable of moving as the vertigo was so bad. Meniere's does seem to settle down after a while though and now, although he has tinnitus quite badly and is deaf in one ear (handy for him if he wants to ignore me! ;) ) he has learned to cope with it most of the time as the symptoms are no longer so acute.


As he has said to me regarding the disease "I'll live with it, but I won't enjoy it!!" :unsure:


He's got his disease and I've got mine!! :emoticons-yes: ;)

Jo Frowde

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I have another type of autoimmune ear disease, called Tympanosclerosis. It began about 20 years ago, however I was able to get by without hearing aids until it suddenly worsened in 2010.


I absolutely love my hearing aids. I can hear and I am not always asking people to repeat things, straining to hear (and getting fatigued just because of that), or avoiding crowded situations (like parties) because it was too hard to hear anything.


I have little switches on mine so that I can easily tune out the background noise when I want, or even flip them off, which is great when I am about to start the blender, or we are driving by a noisy construction zone. They are also adjustable, so when I am meeting with soft-spoken people I can turn them up a little notch for the duration.


It may sound ridiculous, but I tape them to my glasses so I never lose them and they are always perfectly positioned. I grew out my hair to cover the disaster area, and now I look younger (how can you beat that?).


They have just very tiny tubing to go in the ear (not the whole unit) which doesn't bother my ears at all. And, they are very cheap, just $150/ear, so I'm not worried about losing one. I must say, the price and the self-adjustability just about drive my audiologist nuts, because they don't make any commission on it plus there's no monthly charge for having them tune them up, either. But do I care? No!


I'm happier with them than some people who pay $3,000 an ear. First off, they can't adjust their hearing aids, because there are no switches for on or off or background noise. They can't turn them off when they are going to start the blender or drive past a noisy zone -- first, the shock of the noise has to hit and then the units turn down, but the shocking noise is already heard, first. And they often have the whole unit inside their ear, which I am sure I would scratch out, lose, etc. on a regular basis.


Yes, yes, everybody, run out and buy cheap hearing aids today! No, just kidding. My point on this is that some people who really need hearing aids avoid them for many reasons -- price, looks, feeling something in their ear, not being able to turn them off or adjust them to their needs, fear of losing them, etc. Some of those issues are avoidable. And I am happier now, with my handy dandy cheap hearing aids, than I'd ever be with most (if not all) of the pricey ones -- plus it gives me even more control over hearing than I had when I did not have hearing loss.


It's something like having adjustable glasses. Can you imagine having glasses that you could just flip a switch and they would provide more magnification, or greater distance vision? And then when you didn't want to see something, you could flip them "off" which is the blur setting. Or you could have them focus on the person sitting across from you at a restaurant, and have them blur out all the other distractions in the background. Wouldn't you be in your glory with such a device? Why, even normal-sighted individuals would envy you, wouldn't they?


If we are asking people to repeat themselves. If other people complain that we turn the TV or radio up too loud. If we can't hear beeps, buzzers, or even phones ringing. If we are avoiding crowded situations and parties because they tire us out too much or we can't hear over the crowd noise. If anyone at all has told us that we need hearing aids. If we have tinnitus (ringing in the ear), or unexplained dizziness. If we haven't had a hearing exam in over a year. If any one of those things apply to us, it may be time for us to get another hearing test.


Our entire social network can disintegrate if we let untreated hearing issues isolate us, and being unsociable is the most unfashionable thing of all. Those of us with scleroderma and other autoimmune diseases are more prone to developing hearing problems due to autoimmune ear disease.


Loss of hearing isn't something for us to ignore in hopes it will go away (it won't) and it is not endearing for others to have to repeat themselves, turn down the volume on things, or tell us that the oven timer has been going off for half an hour.


We can do ourselves, and others, a big favor by making sure that we protect our hearing (avoiding loud TV and music, for example), get it checked regularly, and get hearing aids if/when they are prescribed for us.

Warm Hugs,


Shelley Ensz

Founder and President

International Scleroderma Network (ISN)

Hotline and Donations: 1-800-564-7099


The most important thing in the world to know about scleroderma is sclero.org.

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Jo, you and Robert are such a wonderful couple! I had no idea Robert had Meniere's disease and good on him for his attitude, being able to live with it even though he doesn't like it!


Bleev, you do wonder these things, there are autoimmune diseases in my family although no scleroderma that I know of.


Take care.

Amanda Thorpe

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