Study suggests link between sudden sensorineural hearing loss and sleep apnea

TAIPEI, TAIWAN—Researchers have found that found that men in a study group with sudden sensorineural hearing loss (SSNHL) were nearly 50% more likely also to have obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) than men in the group who had not suffered sudden hearing loss. The results of the large-scale retrospective study were published last month in the Archives of Otolaryngology–Head & Neck Surgery (Vol. 138, No. 1, pp. 55-59).

Jau-Jiuan Sheu, MD, MPH, and his two co-authors drew upon a database from a large Taiwanese health insurance company. They identified 3192 patients diagnosed with SSNHL for the study group, while for the control group they randomly extracted the data of 15,960 subjects matched by sex, age, and year of first SSNHL diagnosis.

Of the 19,152 patients, OSA was diagnosed in 1.7% of the SSNHL group, and 1.2% of the controls. After adjusting for sociodemographic characteristics and co-morbid medical disorders, the researchers found that male patients with SSNHL were more likely to have prior OSA than control group participants. However, no such association was found among female patients.