After a group of researchers investigated over 1 million health records kept in one of the largest health insurance databases in Taiwan, it was determined that sudden hearing loss could be directly linked to sleep apnea
Led by Dr. Jau-Jiuan Sheu of the Taipei Medical University Hospital, it was quickly found that 3,200 of the 1 million patients between the years of 2000 and 2008 had been treated for sudden deafness. Each of the 3,200 patients were then compared against five others of the same age and gender who have had no diagnoses or signs of hearing loss. After elements of lifestyle and health issues that were common to both those suffering from hearing loss and sleep apnea were considered in the study, researchers found that men who had been experiencing sudden deafness were 48 percent more likely to also be suffering from sleep apnea.
Though the data presented by this study is shaky at best and does not prove whether sleep apnea and sudden hearing loss are related, the findings from the study linking the two health conditions should not be passed over.
The Possible Connection
Those who are suffering from sleep apnea experience a wide variety of symptoms, not least of which includes a loss of breath that can last from 15 seconds to a minute at a time. The lack of oxygen in the body could be a link to sudden deafness, as the ear requires large amounts of oxygen when experiencing a bigger sound load or after an operation. Unfortunately, this possible link has yet to be tested or proven.
There are about 4,000 new cases of sudden deafness each year, according to the National Institutes of Health. Ear infections and head injuries have been known to cause sudden deafness, and now sleep apnea may be yet another cause to add to the pile.
If you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea and would like to investigate treatment options, contact Dr. Matthews today to schedule a consultation.