Thursday, March 5, 2009

I Have Parkinson's and Hearing Loss

Is there a PD relationship to Hearing Loss?

I never liked rock music very much so I didn't spend time in the bars where live bands broke the sound barrier every Friday and Sat night. I didn't go too Woodstock or any other big loud concerts because I didn't like crowds. I prefered jazz or classical where the sound wasn't cranked.

In the 1970's I experienced some assaults on my hearing from firing guns in and out of cars and buildings. I also joined my wife in target practice but shunned the earmuffs.

In the 1980's I was a contractor and used power tools, sand blasters, jack hammers and every hearing-damaging power tool known to man. I was aware that exposing myself to such high noise levels could be damaging to my hearing, We still had my wife's firing range earmuffs sitting on a shelf. I just didn't realize what a difference that might make.

I also didn't realize I was going to get Parkinson's. I don't know if having Parkinson's contributes to my hearing loss which is primarily in my left ear, and so far that's the side of my body that has been affected by PD. Most PD doctors and patients haven't thought that hearing loss can be caused by PD.

My hearing loss has been helped by wearing a hearing aid rather than turning up the volume. I do have problems with specific registers of sounds.

Much recent attention has also been to hearing loss and the aging process. A new study authored by Kelly C Harris at Medical University of SC announced in Health Day News the finding of the small portion of the auditory cortex reduced in size in older people wit hearing loss. Otolaryngalogist Robert D Frisina commented that he felt the study was promising because it had located evidence that hearing loss can go on in the grey matter of the brain where the neural processing takes place.

Research at Baylor University showed that while patients with Essential Tremor have a much greater rate of hearing loss than the general population, Parkinson's Disease patients don't appear to have the same losses. But there is ongoing recent research into synaptic proteins called synucleins (alpha, beta and gamma) that are involved in the transmission of nerve impulses in the cochlea of the ear. The cochlea contains the hair-like cells that vibrate in response to sound. The cochlea also has neurons that transmit those impulses to the auditory nerve connected to the brain.

Alpha synuclein has been cited as being involved or causative in Parkinson's disease Lewy bodies. This research will probably show whether there is a connection between hearing loss and Parkinson's.

By the way: I would be interested in hearing from anyone with Parkinson's disease who also has hearing loss. Or from carers whose PDers have a hearing loss.

Note: Check the Comments section for some additional Hearing Loss information.

Addendum: One connection to my hearing loss could be aspirin use although very small it is daily and that has been associated with hearing loss for decades.  I simply do not recall when my hearing loss began.  Was it before or after the aspirin use for my heart?

And of course the older articles


  1. I have got parkinsons and very bad hearing.But my hearing problem is very strange. Way back in my younger days, I was told that I have what
    is called U shaped hearing.This means I can Hear low or High frequncies, but nothing in between.
    But I have a question for you? Do
    you or have you been tested for diabeties? BecauseI can find diabeties and hearing problems on the net.And I also found out that diabeties
    can cause parkisons symptoms

  2. A few years prior to my PD diagnosis back when I was on a vegetarian diet, my triglyceride level was very high and I was diagnosed as being pre-diabetic. I was also advised to discontinue the diet which I did and everything returned to "normal"
    Thank you for this information.

  3. My husband has parkisons and this past July, he had a sudden hearing loss in his Left Ear.
    I took him to an ear dr. and they tried different things to get his hearing back. He now only has 40 percent hearing in his left ear. The dr. is talking about surgery. I don't know, if parkinsons is the reason for the hearing loss, would surgery really help?? B.B.

  4. In all likelihood this sudden hearing loss is not related to Parkinson's Disease.

    Has his condition been given a name such as Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss (SSHL) or something else.

    We will be glad to send you several links of additional reading but we did want to mention 2 important issues:

    The first is the possibility that SSHL can be a precursor of Stroke.

    And the 2nd is that the FDA requested possible hearing loss warnings on Erectile dysfunction meds which might cause sudden hearing loss: Cialis, Levitra Viagra as well as on Revatio for pulmonary arterial hypertension.

    We are not physicians and as such cannot diagnose nor prescribe. Hearing loss is quite upsetting and there is always the worry that the good ear will also be affected.

    Since we are not sure what the exact problem is our research is general but we would be glad to do some additional research for you and send you the links we have found if you us CONTACT US to send us additional information.

    Since some hearing loss problems can be corrected by surgery, it may be the only option remaining. Before surgery, some people like to get a 2nd opinion. If this is possible, it may be something you would like to consider.

    Is your husband using a Hearing Aid now? If he is, does it help?

    Best Wishes and please feel free to contact us.

  5. I was officially diagnosed with PD 2 months ago. I have begun to notice difficulty hearing some frequencies. For example, sleeping with the windows open, we can hear crickets. When I sleep on my right side, I can hear my husband's breathing, but not the crickets. Sleeping on my left side, I can hear both breathing & crickets. I am wondering if this is:
    1- sinus related
    2- PD related
    3- medication related
    Yesterday, I used a Q-Tip to check for ear wax & found none.
    I tried taking Benadryl @ bedtime & it didn't improve my hearing loss.
    I am currently listening to music w/headphones & notice that my hearing in the left ear is softer than the right.
    I used some Ocean saline nasal spray this morning, still hoping the problem can be attributed to a blocked sinus.
    Any suggestions?

  6. I love to sleep to the sound of crickets and while I love my husband and want to know that he is breathing, I would prefer not to hear him breathing any more than I want to hear the dog snore. (When a dog is ill, I reach out frequently to touch his or her chest)

    First of all you need to make an appointment with an audiologist or with an otolaryngologist specializing in either Rhinology or Neuro-otology.

    You should make a complete list of medications and supplements for the doctor - that means including any over-the counter asprin, vitamins, herbals, allergy pills, sprays, drops, whatever you use.

    Next you will stop using cotton swabs to do anything in your ear except cleaning the outer part as you can actually force the wax etc into you ear rather than removing it. There are good ear cleaners out there for softening material in your ear...waiting...flushing with warm water. A Q-tip is for cosmetic cleaning and I personally love them.

    Be aware that certain meds can be ototoxic and your doctor will be able to tell that from the list you present. The good news is that in many cases, the effects are reversible. Here is a cut and paste link to a chart.
    If you use the Contact Us email link, I will be glad to send you more information and links about hearing loss.
    But be aware that even asprin can be ototoxic.

    Here is another link to a Self Test for hearing loss i.e. when it is time to have your hearing tested:

    There are different types of hearing losses and causes:
    Sensorineural(discussed in previous comment here)
    Mixed hearing loss
    Unilateral Hearing Loss
    Your hearing loss can also be bilateral, symetrical or asymetrical (which yours appears to be), fluctuating or stable.

    Your hearing loss might be normal attrition as well as any of the above 1) sinus; 2) PD related which is probably not the case but it we are brginning to see evidence to the contrary - meaning that there is a slight chance or 3) medication related.

    We appreciate your comments but even if we were physicians, we wouldn't have sufficient information to make a diagnosis. Once you prepare the medical history as suggested, you could always begin with an Audiologist to ascertain the type, degree and configuration of your hearing loss. After that you may have the direction to decide upon seeing either a Rhinkolgist or a Neuro-otologists (because you have PD)

    Don't neglect this condition. Hearing provides wonderful pleasures. Its loss deprives us of the music of laughter and crickets.

    Best Wishes to you

  7. My husband was diagnosed with PD this week. I had been searching for 5 years to find out what was wrong with him. He had three medical changes in his life all at the same time. He was diagnosed with Diabetes. Then had profound hearing loss in his right ear. Then diagnosed with Cardiomyopothy. I'm starting to think that all of this is tied together and all of it caused by the Parkinson's Disease. The neurologist that gave us the PD diagnosis put him on Dopamine and will follow up with him in October. He has no tremors so the PD never occured to me.

  8. There is a relationship between Diabetes Type 2, Idiopathic Cardiomyopathy (ICM) and Parkinson's disease. The link is the Diabetes.
    According to what we have read, "the association between diabetes and ICM is strongest with microvascular complications of diabetes suggesting a link to hyperglycemia." This is "a distinct diabetic cardiomyopathy unrelated to athersclerosis."
    The next link is to Parkinson's disease. According to an 18 year study as reported by the American Diabetes Association, Type 2 is associated with an increased risk to PD, although the mechanism is unknown.

    Lastly there is a link of both Parkinson's disease and diabetes to Mitochondrial Syndromic Hearing Impairment through DNA mutations.

    We are very sorry to hear that your husband seems to have all 4 issues. Have you considered some genetic testing. We will keep our eyes open for any Clinical Trials. If you have children you might want to consider the Progeni testing.

    Thank you for sharing this information, it has directed our attention to further investigation. We will be posting a new article based upon your question. We will include as many helpful links for further reading and for genetic testing of the mitrochondrial disorder mentioned.

  9. I am so thankful to found this post. Thank you for sharing

  10. Sometimes, having a disease affects many people a lot and it may be your hearing. Very informative post you have here.

  11. Hearing Aid Repairs did provide a backlink to his blog which you might find helpful.
    I was reminded of the need to clean Steve's new hearing aid when he took it off to shower.
    By the way, the new hearing aid works much better than what he was using before. We're really pleased...and it wasn't hearing aids go.

  12. I have had pd for 3 yr. Starting this July I flew to LA and back. Mid august I went to my primary care doctor complaining of not hearing well in my left ear. He gave me something for allergies, which I do have also. It didn't get better and middle of October I felt my hearing was getting worse. I again mentioned it to my PD doctor and she said to see my doctor again. I have since seen my primary dr again and now and ENT two weeks ago. I have felt that it has now gotten worse in the left ear and the right ear is starting the same thing. I called today and got in early for a hearing test (was scheduled March 1st). The audiologist said I have a severe loss in the left ear and moderate loss in the right ear. I have not been sick with colds or anything. I am now waiting to get into see the ENT again to see what his thoughts are. I have read alot about viruses etc but am more concerned it is the pd. i have had to increase my mirapex substantially since June. I can live with being able to hear at this level but don't want to go deaf. I want to hear my first grandchild talk and he is only a year old. Is this pd? meds? what?


  13. Dear Machelle,
    We are not doctors nor can we provide a medical opinion - which would be impossible to form anyway since we are at the keyboard.

    I assume since you have increased you intake of the dopamine agonist, Mirapex (pramipexole) that your PD symptoms are also progressing. Are you taking the ER form which is a slow release pill giving you a steadier dosage?

    Although Mirapex can cause allergy reactions in some people, they do not appear to extend to hearing issues.

    Still, your hearing loss seems to be undergoing a rapid progression.

    Since you didn't mention an ear infection and possible ear drum perforation, we can assume that the hearing loss is something that you will need to discuss at length with both your ENT and your audiologist.

    We have found that Steve is hearing better using a non-prescription hearing aid costing around $350.00 for a pair.

    Perhaps other readers can share their experiences with hearing loss causes.

    Please keep us informed.

  14. My dad is currently undergoing tests as we have suspected he is developing all the symptoms of PD. His hearing has also been deteriorating and now he says he cannot hear from the left ear. With regards to diabetes, my dad has never been a sufferer. It sounds from the comments that it is commomn for PD sufferers to develop hearing loss?

  15. Osteoarthritis Symptoms is the commonest form of arthritis mainly seen in old aged people.The cause of osteoarthritis is primarily due to age, although obesity and previous injuries also play a factor in this condition. 

  16. Hello! I don't know what is the current state of your PD, but if you did not find relief in the traditional medicine, here I have a solution for you. You should check the parkinson's stem cell treatment and before you tell me (or yourself) it's a bullshit treatment, just read more about it. Let me know if there is anything I can help you with.

    1. It is important to understand that this comment was published to give readers a chance to read a long article about stem cell treatments which essentially debunked the existing therapies offered for diseases such as ALS and PD.
      You can cut and paste this link to read more:
      The above comment was not posted in support but rather to present the current knowlesge.

  17. can parkinsons make me go deaf?

    1. Hearing loss and Parkinson's disease did not go hand in hand when this article was written. It was thought that hearing loss's presence in people with PD was just be coincidental or it could be one system shutting down in order to maintain others.
      Since PD seems to simulate an accelerated aging process, it is possible that the earlier onset of hearing loss is related especially at certain frequencies.
      Moreover, hearing impairment can affect cognition.
      Will PD make you go deaf? While the evidence doesn't point in that direction, that's really a question to be directed to your neurologist.

  18. My father was diagnosed with PD about a year ago. Currently he has moderate tremors on his left arm. He also has some gate changes, shuffling as he walks, stuttering when he initiates movement, at times. A couple of months ago he mentioned that he was having a hard time talking on the phone using his right ear. He also noticed difficulty hearing the television when he lay on his right side. Hearing testing was done and he has moderate to severe hearing loss in his right ear. Left ear tested better than expected, great, no loss. He is 79 yrs. old. The ENT Dr. scheduled a MRI, to rule out tumor. He also had T4 fusion done about a year before the PD diagnosis.

  19. I was diagnosed with PD only a few weeks ago. A chest infection has given me some hearing loss in my left ear which I hope will not be permanent as it is distressing and makes me feel very grumpy! Just another thing to deal with in this long list of symptoms and difficulties.

  20. In August of 2014 I experienced sudden hearing loss in my left ear, accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and vertigo. I was diagnosed with Meniere's disease, then a few months later I began to experience tremors on my right side, then diagnosed with essential tremor, then Parkinson's disease. I have since lost half my hearing in the other ear as well, and currently have a hearing aid which helps. It seems very likely to me that all of this is related. I am 62 and was in good health up til this point.

  21. I have been taking care of my 80 year dad who has Parkinson's disease my mom passed away a little over 3 years ago so he was living alone he was diagnosed with Parkinson's about 2 years ago he also has spinal stenosis so the medication he was on for the Parkinson's was causing him to hallucinate and his neighbors were calling me at 2 or 3 in the morning because they found him wandering around outside telling everyone people were have parties in his house and were trying to kill his cat anyway I couldn't get in touch with him one day and rushed up to his place he was almost dead he fell on the floor and I don't no how long he was like that for his kidneys had shut down he was very dehydrated and almost died long story short it was time for him to move in with me and my husband he always had problems with hearing but it's gotten a lot worse he had hearing aids but very stubborn about wearing them n supposedly on accident they both managed to break anyway to have a conversation with him u literally have to scream in his face now he is complaining he can only hear out of one ear but is refusing to see a doctor he hears opera music in his one ear but he still insists on driving etc he's ok to drive I just don't let him go,anywhere by himself he needs to get hearing aids but giving me such a rough time I don't no what to do anymore he has gotten very nasty and constantly in a bad mood I have to force him to drink because he refuses to do that also n I font want him to end up back in the hospital again three times he was there because he lied and said he was drinking and wasn't I literally had to sleep on the floor in front of his for so he couldn't escape finally it got yo the pint we had to call an ambulance to take him to hospital I was just wondering if the hearing loss gets worse from the Parkinson's disease someone please help

    1. As we age hearing loss seems to have a tendency to worsen. So many symptoms of PD seem like accelerated aging. In our experience hearing loss did increase. I'd like to hear from others with PD and hearing loss to learn of their experiences.

      Although it might seem as if his hearing loss is a terrible issue - not to say that it isn't because hearing is so important - the worst issue he is facing is the damage done by his constant dehydration which could be causing the hallucinations coupled with the PD medications he has to take.

      If your father has signed a HIPAA release with his doctors (if he hasn't, that needs to be done) talk to his doctors about both issues. I've seen the devastation which dehydration can cause and I know that some of that damage is not reversible.

      If he refuses to have his hearing tested or to wear the hearing aids, you might look for a less expensive OTC form as long as he doesn't have unusual issues. Steve refused to have his hearing tested because he knew he'd lose the hearing aid$. Eventually we found an OTC model which worked quite well. And yes he did occasionally lose them but the financial loss was considerably less when they had to be replaced.

      For caregivers the ability to communicate with the "patient" is very important. Yelling only creates more tension and stress so I am not downplaying the issues you face. As the body shuts down the "non-essential" systems, hearing often falls victim.

      Hearing loss can also contribute to a sense of isolation. Your father has already faced some social isolation when your mother died. He may be self-imposing some of this isolation.


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