hearing loss metabolic syndrome

Metabolic Syndrome and Recovery Time from Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss

According to guidelines used by the National Institutes of Health, metabolic syndrome is present if an individual has three or more of these traits or is taking medication to control them:


  • Large waist circumference — a waistline that measures at least 35 inches (89 centimeters) for women and 40 inches (102 centimeters) for men
  • High triglyceride level — 150 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL), or 1.7 millimoles per liter (mmol/L), or higher of this type of fat found in blood
  • Reduced high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol — less than 40 mg/dL (1.04 mmol/L) in men or less than 50 mg/dL (1.3 mmol/L) in women of this “good” cholesterol
  • Increased blood pressure — 130/85 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) or higher
  • Elevated fasting blood sugar — 100 mg/dL (5.6 mmol/L) or higher


Risk factors for metabolic syndrome include family history, poor diet, and inadequate exercise. Metabolic syndrome is believed to be increasing in prevalence and parallels an increasing epidemic of obesity. In the United States, where almost two thirds of the population is overweight or obese, more than one fourth of the population meets diagnostic criteria for metabolic syndrome.

Studies suggest that patients meeting the diagnostic criteria have a greater risk of developing Type II diabetes and coronary heart disease. Additionally, a diagnosis of metabolic syndrome carries an increased risk of stroke, fatty liver disease, and cancer.


Metabolic Syndrome and Hearing Loss Recovery


A recent study published in JAMA indicates that adults diagnosed with metabolic syndrome have a poorer recovery rate from episodes of sudden sensorineural hearing loss. Su Young Jung and colleagues at Kyung Hee University and Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine in Korea retrospectively studied 124 adults, diagnosed with sudden sensorineural hearing loss (SSNHL). The researchers evaluated the demographic and clinical characteristics as well as several audiologic variables of each patient diagnosed with SSNHL.

For the 124 patients (52 men and 72 women with a mean age of 56 years) involved in the retrospective analysis, 70 had metabolic syndrome and 54 did not. Rates of type II diabetes, hypertension, obesity and mean concentrations of triglycerides were significantly higher, while mean concentrations of high-density lipoprotein, so-called “good” cholesterol were significantly lower in the group with metabolic syndrome than in the group without metabolic syndrome.


The average pure-tone audiometry thresholds were similar at baseline in the groups with and without metabolic syndrome, but recovery rates after treatment were significantly lower in the group with metabolic syndrome. The degree of hearing loss was higher in patients with metabolic syndrome, but the difference was not statistically significant. Hearing recovery rates were similar in patients with 3 factors of metabolic syndrome compared to the group that did not have metabolic syndrome.


Hearing recovery rates did, however, differ significantly between patients with four or more factors and those without metabolic syndrome.  The researchers concluded that the rate of recovery from SSNHL was lower among patients with metabolic syndrome than among those without metabolic syndrome. Prognosis was poorer in patients with four or more diagnostic factors of the metabolic syndrome.

The study shows the link between factors like poor diet, insufficient exercise and obesity that contribute to metabolic syndrome and recovery times for those individuals who may suffer from a sudden sensorineural hearing loss.



*featured image courtesy diabetescommunity