What’s the Link Between Hearing Loss and Lyme Disease?

Did you know that Lyme Disease has a link to hearing loss? Hearing loss is a less common and less-known outcome of a Lyme disease infection. Often occurring in the latter stages and more severe cases of Lyme disease, the condition can lead to significant negative effects on hearing health. If not treated in time, hearing loss from Lyme disease can lead to temporary and permanent hearing loss, vertigo and dizziness as well as tinnitus. Use this guide to get to know you need to know about Lyme Disease, its connection to hearing loss, as well as some tips for prevention. 

Lyme Disease and Hearing Loss: What’s the Connection?

Let’s define what Lyme Disease is:

Most people have a working knowledge of Lyme Disease and its origination from a tick bite. To get more specific, Lyme disease is a bacterial infection that is caused when one gets bitten by an infected tick. Common Lyme Disease symptoms can include rash, fever, headache and fatigue. The challenges with Lyme Disease is that it can be hard to diagnose and if left untreated, it can spread to the joints, heart and nervous system.

Who is most at risk for Lyme Disease?

Ticks are tiny arachnids that are found in tall grasses, brush and deep woods. While ticks can be found any time of the year, they are most prevalent in late spring and summer with the presence of warmer weather.

How Lyme Disease Impacts Hearing:

Lyme disease has been linked to hearing loss ranging from temporary to permanent and even in some cases, sudden sensorineural hearing loss. More common types of hearing loss or damage that occurs from Lyme Disease infections include:

  • Hyperacusis – A hearing condition where sufferers experience extreme sensitivity to sound. Hyperacusis can be treated with sound therapy and cognitive behavior therapy.
  • Tinnitus – A hearing condition where the sufferer hears ringing or high-pitched sounds with no source. While there is no cure for tinnitus, it can also be managed with hearing aids, sound therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy.

Tips to avoid Lyme Disease:

  • Check clothing for ticks after spending time hiking, camping or any other outdoor activities where exposure to a tick bite might have been possible. 
  • Wash clothing that was worn outdoors in hot water. 
  • Take a shower directly after being outside in risk areas.
  • Check the body for ticks, especially ankles, behind ears, collar lines and the scalp area. Use a mirror for hard to view areas.

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