Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a disorder that strikes one in five adults and causes their breathing to pause during sleep.
Researchers from Taipei Medical University Hospital, Taiwan, looked at 19,000 journals from people with sleep apnea. By reviewing records of 3,200 cases of sudden hearing loss, the researchers showed that 240 patients were suffering from sleep apnea before experiencing hearing loss.
A clear link
Like sudden hearing loss, sleep apnea is also related to obesity and heart disease. By taking those factors into account, Dr. Jau-Jiuan Sheau and his colleagues from Taipei Medical University Hospital found that inflammation and changes in blood vessels linked to sleep apnea could increase the risk of sudden hearing loss, just as obesity and heart disease could.
The results published in Archives of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery showed that men who had experienced sudden hearing loss were 48% more likely to have previously been diagnosed with sleep apnea. According to the researchers, this shows a clear link between the two disorders.
Sleep apnea is easy to treat once it has been diagnosed; while a sudden hearing loss can be treated if a doctor is consulted immediately after experiencing hearing loss.