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Cogan's Syndrome

Posted Nov 07 2008 4:45pm
There are many reasons a person can lose their hearing. Some people lose it gradually and some loss is sudden. My inbox is littered with people that go from one extreme to the other - perfect hearing to sudden deafness. Many personal tales have words like Autoimmune Inner Ear Disease, Meniere's disease and Meningitis are duplicated several times over.
I've seen the symptoms sprinkled across my screen so much that they almost seem to run together.

hearinglossvertigotinnitusphotophobiavomitingdizzinessnauseamigraines

Well, I learned about a new one at ALDA. I was reading the CART screen captioning the voice of a woman that identified herself as a Coganite.

Coganite, Coganite, Coganite

What the hell is a Coganite? A Coganite is a person that has suffered from Cogan's Syndrome. It is a rare, extremely rare autoimmune disorder can cause deafness and blindness. I believe I overheard the woman say that there has only been about 150 cases in the United States. So yeah, I would say that rare alright.

The symptoms of Cogan's Syndrome are:

  • Rapid onset of hearing loss in one or both ears
  • Vertigo
  • Nausea
  • No balance or severe gait
  • Tinnitus
  • Nonsyphilitic Interstitial Keratitis (inflammation of the eye),
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Vasculitis (inflammation of the blood vessels)
  • Arteritis (inflammation of the walls of arteries)


It seems to occur in young people from the age 22-29 years old. It has been known to occur in some older people but it is more common with the younger crowd. No one knows what causes Cogan's Syndrome. The good news is that there is a treatment for Cogan's which is cortisone type medications such as everyone favorite mood changing steroid -- Prednisone. The bad news, if it is not diagnosed quickly, a person usually suffers from a complete hearing loss and partial vision loss.

The good news is that no one has to deal with this alone. You can contact the Cogan's Contact Network if you or a family member has been recently diagnosed and you want to connect with others that have been down this road.

For the rest of us, we can inform our doctors of this extremely rare condition to raise awareness because an affected person hearing and sight can be saved and it is only a matter of time that it can.
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