Comorbidity refers to the simultaneous presence of two or more diseases or conditions in one patient. Many common comorbidities are associated with hearing loss, but one infrequently discussed condition is fibromyalgia.
What Is Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia is a chronic disorder causing musculoskeletal pain, fatigue and issues sleeping, poor cognitive processing and mood issues. Researchers believe fibromyalgia pain results from the brain and spinal cord incorrectly processing painful and nonpainful symptoms, resulting in amplified pain. Unfortunately, this doesn’t make the pain any less real.
Why Does the Comorbidity Occur?
A 2020 study on the comorbidity compared patients with new-onset fibromyalgia from 2000 to 2002 with non-fibromyalgia patients, matching them against each other according to sex and age. Patients were followed up with from three months after their diagnosis until withdrawal from the study, death, hearing loss development or December 31, 2013. The research found that patients with fibromyalgia were 1.46 times more likely to develop hearing loss than those without.
The 2020 study was supported by a 2021 study examining the hearing thresholds of 33 patients with fibromyalgia and 33 patients without. The study concluded that middle ear resonance frequency values were significantly decreased in fibromyalgia patients.
One possibility as to why hearing loss is common in fibromyalgia patients is related to issues in how the central nervous system operates. Just as the nervous system tells fibromyalgia patients that they’re in pain, it may affect their ability to correctly perceive sounds, resulting in the symptoms of hearing loss.
How Can You Treat Hearing Loss?
If you’re experiencing the signs or symptoms of hearing loss, the first thing to do is schedule a hearing test. Once you have established the type and severity of your hearing loss, you can begin to seek treatment.
One of the best options to treat hearing loss is hearing aids. Hearing aids can identify and amplify speech sounds and suppress irrelevant background information to make communication, from chatting with friends and family to ordering a fall latte at 2 Rivers Coffee, much more manageable.
For more information on managing hearing loss, contact The ENT Center of New Braunfels today to make an appointment with one of our trusted specialists.