Hearing Loss and Sleep Apnea: Are They Related?

AcurestA recent study out of Taiwan has found that sleep apnea might be linked to sudden hearing-loss and deafness.

Led by Dr. Jau-Jiuan Sheu of the Taipei Medical University Hospital, the study centered on over 1 million Taiwanese health records pulled from a medical database. It was quickly found that 3,200 patients out of the 1 million had been treated for sudden deafness between 2000 and 2008. Each patient was compared against five people of the same age and gender that did not show signs of hearing loss. As the researchers factored in elements of overall lifestyle and health that could be seen in both those associated with sudden hearing loss and sleep apnea, they found that men who exhibited sudden deafness were 48 percent more likely to be suffering from sleep apnea as well.

This data alone does not prove whether sleep apnea does in fact cause sudden deafness or other related hearing-loss problems; however the findings from the study show a connection between sleep apnea and sudden deafness that cannot easily be ignored.

Connection Between Sleep Apnea and Hearing Loss

Sleep apnea, if left untreated, has been known to cause plaque buildup in the blood vessels. It is likely that plaque buildup could be seen in parts of the brain that control hearing or those vessels that are closer to the ear that influence the nerves for your hearing.

According to the National Institutes of Health, there are about 4,000 new cases of sudden deafness reported per year. Head injuries and ear infections have been known to cause sudden hearing loss or deafness, and sleep apnea could be yet another leading cause of the condition.

If you have been diagnosed with severe sleep apnea and would like to know more about the condition and available sleep apnea treatment options such as CPAP from a sleep dentist, contact Dr. Roger Roubal today to schedule a consultation. He is available by phone or email.