Is There a Link between Sleep Apnea and Hearing Loss?
Is there a link between sleep apnea and hearing loss?
Although it sounds pretty far-fetched, research shows a correlation between the two conditions.
What is sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea is a chronic disorder where a person’s breathing stops and starts, either once or multiple times, while sleeping. Loud snoring during sleep and fatigue while awake during the day are other characteristics of the disorder.
One study looked at almost 14,000 patients and found that 10% of those people had sleep apnea. Around 31% of the patients with sleep apnea had either high or low frequency hearing loss or a combination of both.
So does this mean if you have sleep apnea you’ll lose your hearing?
Researchers warn that they’ve only found a correlation between the two conditions, not a cause of one or the other.
The goal is for researchers to further study what the connection is between sleep apnea and hearing loss, to figure out if one causes the other, and if there are any other factors involved.
Do other factors contribute to hearing impairment?
Sleep apnea has been known to be associated with inflammation, along with cardiovascular and endocrine problems.
The ear can be prone to damage from inflammation and blood vessel function abnormalities.
In their study, researchers adjusted their data to account for other possible causes of hearing loss. The average age of the study’s participants was 41 years of age.
The study focused on people in the Hispanic community in the United States and 53% of them were women.