Fish skin disease, or â€œIchthyosisâ€, is an inherited skin disorder causing extremely dry, thick and scaly skin. The disease covers most of the body, resembling the scales of a fish, and the body overproduces keratin.
In a survey of 135 patients with fish skin disease, more than two-thirds of the patients reported hearing problems. 80% of the patients had pruritus (severe ear itching), 66% had trouble hearing, 29% reported frequent ear pain, 28% had abnormal hearing test results and 16% had used hearing aids.
According to researchers, such hearing related issues may be attributed to the unusually high production of keratin in the external ear canals.
Fish skin disease and keratin
Keratin is a protein that is a major component in skin, hair, nails and teeth. A person suffering from ichthyosis, or fish skin disease, overproduces keratin.
Overproduction of keratin in the ears can cause the ears canals to become blocked, which can result in conductive hearing loss, according to researchers.
Affects all age groups
Hearing problems in relation to different types of ichthyosis-diseases affect all patients, across all age groups.
Researchers have called for further studies within the area to measure hearing loss and intervention assessments.