If you’re a fan of hiking places like Fort Defiance State Park, you probably know to keep an eye out for black-legged ticks, otherwise known as deer ticks, as their bite has the ability to spread Lyme disease.
Left untreated, Lyme disease can cause problems ranging from joint pain, severe fatigue, neurological issues and hearing loss.
Patients With Lyme Disease Report Hearing Problems
A study published in 2018 looked asked 216 patients with tick-borne illnesses about their symptoms. Researchers found that many complained of ear-related symptoms.
- 5% reported tinnitus
- 7% vertigo and dizziness
- 7% hearing loss in one ear (unilateral hearing loss)
While the exact reason for the connection between Lyme disease and these problems is unclear, it’s thought that untreated Lyme disease damages the auditory system, just as it can damage other parts of the body.
Preventing Lyme Disease
The best way to avoid hearing loss or other complications from Lyme disease is to avoid contracting it. To do this, take the following precautions:
- Avoid tall grass and brushy, overgrown areas
- Stay in the middle of trails when hiking
- Wear long pants and a long-sleeved shirt, and make sure to tuck your pants into your socks to create a barrier to prevent ticks from getting in
- Use insect repellent
- Upon returning home, immediately examine yourself, as well as any children or pets that joined you on your hike, for ticks
- Remove and wash your clothes and take a shower when getting home
- If you find a tick, remove it with tweezers as soon as possible. It usually takes between 24-36 hours before Lyme disease can be transmitted
Seek Medical Attention at First Sign of Lyme Disease
If you were bitten and come down with Lyme disease, early treatment with antibiotics can help prevent long-lasting complications. Call your doctor immediately if you suspect Lyme disease and/or notice the following symptoms:
- A circular red rash resembling a bull’s eye, any time in the first month after being infected
- Body aches
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Neck stiffness
Get Any Hearing Problems Checked Out
If you believe you have developed hearing loss as a complication of Lyme disease, schedule an appointment with an audiologist for an evaluation, including a hearing test. If hearing loss is discovered, you will most likely be treated with hearing aids.
The right pair of hearing aids can improve your listening ability in any environment and allow you to stay connected to others. Treatment with hearing aids also helps reduce your risk of health issues associated with untreated hearing loss, including anxiety and depression, balance issues and cognitive decline.
For more information or to schedule an appointment, call Nelson Hearing Clinics today.