Hearing loss is an uncommon symptom of MS. About 6 percent of people who have MS complain of impaired hearing. The cause of hearing loss can be due to non-MS related issues but in MS, can be associated with damage to the hearing nerve pathways in the brain and the brainstem. Hearing loss may also take place during an acute exacerbation.
- In very rare cases, hearing loss has been reported as the first symptom of the disease.
- Deafness due to MS is exceedingly rare, and most acute episodes of hearing deficit caused by MS tend to improve. Although not a common MS symptom, the incidence of hearing loss called sensorineural hearing loss in the MS population far exceeds that in the normal population.
Because hearing deficits are so uncommon in MS, people with MS who do develop hearing loss should have their hearing thoroughly evaluated by a healthcare provider to rule out other causes.
Audiologists are the primary health-care professionals who evaluate, diagnose, treat, and manage hearing loss and balance disorders in adults and children.