Auto-immune Inner Ear Disease

Auto-immune inner ear disease is a condition in which hearing loss and imbalance—manifested either as disequilibrium or vertigo—occurs as a result of a patient’s own immune system producing antibodies against his/her inner ear.

Diagnosis for Auto-immune Inner Ear Disease

The diagnosis of auto-immune inner ear disease is made based on astute clinical suspicion in addition to the patient’s history, physical exam, and symptoms.  One way to differentiate auto-immune inner ear disease from other disorders with similar symptoms is by testing the response of the patient to steroids.  Since steroids suppress the immune system and decrease the production of antibodies, the use of steroids will temporarily relieve some of the symptoms of auto-immune inner ear disease.  For this reason, steroids offer a two-fold benefit; they will not only treat and relieve symptoms, but they will also shed light on the diagnosis by mere virtue of the fact that they relieved the patient’s symptoms.