Although hearing loss is not a common symptom of MS, some patients may experience MS-related hearing problems due to damaged hearing nerve pathways. The good news is that deafness is extremely rare in MS and most acute MS-related hearing problems tend to be improved. Hearing problems in MS patients may include: ringing in the ears (tinnitus), sudden hearing loss, poor understanding of speech when background noise is present, and noise sensitivity (Hyperacusis).
Studies suggest that about 50% of MS patients who experience sudden hearing loss may also experience ringing in the ears. Ringing in the ears (Tinnitus) may occur in the form of whistling , buzzing, ringing, or hissing and lead to insomnia and Fatigue during the day. If continued for a long time, tinnitus may cause serious problems, such as anxiety and noise sensitivity. Since there are some proven remedies for treating tinnitus, it's very important to consult with your doctor/neurologist if you're experiencing ringing in the ears or any other hearing problems. Your doctor may recommend you:
* Noise Suppression Devices:
- White noise machines: white noise machines are devices which produce white noises or soothing sounds (such as, falling rain, etc.) to help you sleep better and focus less on ringing in your ears.
- Hearing aids and masking devices: these wearable devices are worn in the ears and help you suppress ringing in your ears and not to focus on it by producing continues white noises and other techniques. It's very important to consult with your doctor and follow his/her instructions.
* Changing Your Medications:
Some medications and therapies may mitigate your tinnitus-related symptoms. Depending on your health conditions, medical history, progression of your disease, severity of your symptoms, and several other factors, your doctor may decide to prescribe you a medication or refer you to a therapist or psychologist to help you learn coping techniques for overcoming your tinnitus-related symptoms, including both direct and indirect impacts (such as, anxiety and depression).
* Knowing your triggers and making adjustments to avoid them:
Knowing your tinnitus' triggers and making some adjustments around them can be very helpful. Although triggers differ from person to person, heat, stress, loud noises, and excessive consumption of alcohol or caffeine may trigger your MS-related tinnitus symptoms.
Given that hearing problems are not common in MS, it's very important to consult with your doctor about any hearing issue you're experiencing and have your hearing evaluated thoroughly and periodically.
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