AIED is a rare disease that occurs when the body's immune system attacks cells in the inner ear which it mistakes for a virus or bacteria. Symptoms of AIED are sudden hearing loss in one ear progressing rapidly over weeks or months to the other ear. Patients may also experience a fullness in the ear accompanied by a ringing, hissing, or roaring sound. About half of patients with AIED experience balance problems in the form of dizziness and unsteadiness.
AIED is a very difficult inner ear problem to diagnose. Many patients with AIED respond to an initial treatment of steroids and may be helped by other, newer medications designed to target various inflammatory mediators. Patients with AIED often benefit from the care and input of a rheumatologist familiar with AIED.