Can vitiligo affect hearing ?

vitiligo hearing

Pigment cells are present in the inner ear and play a vasomotor function. Melanin,  a compound secreted by pigment cells facilitates the passage of substances from one side to the other of the inner ear and helps maintain cell membrane equilibrium.

Some studies have shown that the auditory function was decreased in patients with pigment disorders such as vitiligo, especially in the high frequency range. The loss of pigment cells that occurs in vitiligo can decrease the cochlear health. (Note. The cochlea is the auditory portion of the inner ear)

Audiometry testing has shown that 12% of subjects enrolled in a study experience some type of hearing loss, regardless of sex, age and type of vitiligo. The loss occurs in the range of 4000-8000Hz and is bilateral (on both ears)

As vitiligo patients are predisposed to hearing dysfunctions it is recommended to undergo routine monitoring and audiological assessments by specialists for early identification and treatment.

It's not just the ears that can be affected by vitiligo. Damage from this disorder can also occur within the eye, these manifestations being attributed to abnormalities of the retinal pigment and uveitis.

As there still are opinions that vitiligo is a purely cosmetical disorder, these finding reasonably point out that vitiligo is more than a skin disease.  

ANGRISANI, Rosanna Mariangela Giaffredo et al. A study on otoacoustic emissions and suppression effects in patients with vitiligo. Rev. Bras. Otorrinolaringol. [online]. 2009, vol.75, n.1 [cited  2009-11-06], pp. 111-115 . Available from: <http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0034-72992009000100018&lng=en&nrm=iso>. ISSN 0034-7299.  doi: 10.1590/S0034-72992009000100018.

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Comments

Submitted by vickie on

i've had vitiligo since I was 16 i'm now 51 all my orginal skin color is gone which is not a problem just got to be careful when out in the sun. But didn't know it could effect my hearing or my eyesight which ain't the greatest article was interestering.

Submitted by Amanda on

I have had vitiligo for over 20 years (I am 36) I had no idea my hearing or sight could be affected, although it does make sense as I have been having recent hearing related problems. I am also trying to establish whether my pinguecula (not yet diagnosed) is a result of having vitiligo.

Submitted by waveylines on

i have Vitilgo since I was 16years old -am 59yrs and dont have any pigment left in my skin now. I didn't know about the eye and hearing problems associated with it. I do suffer with glare these days so am wondering if this could be the effect of Vitiligo... I also developed hypothyroidism ten years ago also linked to Vitiligo. Vitligo runs in my mothers side of the family.

Submitted by Catherine on

I think it is the hypothyroidism that causes the problems with glare. I have it too.

Submitted by StrongMom on

We love the product microskin which my child uses to cover up her spots. It is expensive but it helps her feel better about herself and also prevents being asked about it constantly in school.

Submitted by karen on

I noticed my vitaligo around 40- and it has slowly progressed as I am now 63. Last month I had a horrible sinus infection (see more on the effects vitaligo has on sinuses) and after treatment have only half hearing in right ear. Proving the disease is progressive. Have abnormal high amount of phlegm and constant cough and probably asthma. Have not smoked for 25 years. My immune system is impacted other than just my pigment.

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