Do you know someone who snores through the night? Are you unable to sleep without your trusty breathing machine over your nose? It might surprise you to know that someone who is affected by sleep apnea is also likely to be suffering from some degree of hearing loss.
New Study Finds Link Between Sleep Apnea and Hearing Loss
A recent study of over 13,900 people has found that sleep apnea, a sleeping disorder that causes patients to stop breathing during sleep, may be linked to hearing loss. The results from the sleep apnea study were presented at the American Thoracic Society’s 2014 International Conference. The participants all underwent sleep apnea studies in their homes, as well as professional-grade hearing tests.
Of the 10 percent of participants who suffered from moderate sleep apnea, 19 percent were found to have high-frequency hearing loss, about 2 percent had low-frequency hearing loss, and about 9 percent had both high and low frequency impairment. Overall, the study found that people with sleep apnea had a 31 percent increased risk of high-frequency hearing impairment, a 90 percent increased risk of low-frequency hearing loss, and nearly 40 percent increased risk of hearing loss in combined high and low frequencies.
While researchers have not yet found why hearing loss occurs more often in sleep apnea patients, there are several theories:
- Vascular damage. Sleep apnea has been linked to vascular deformities, such as lack of blood flow and inflammation in the body tissues. Hearing impairment could result due to lack of blood supply to the cochlea and other structures of the inner ear.
- Snoring. Many patients with sleep apnea snore loudly, as breathing through narrowed air passages leaved them fighting for air as they sleep. The vibrations from eight hours of snoring each night can lead to noise trauma to the ears, resulting in hearing loss.
- Related conditions. People with sleep apnea are at increased risk for many additional medical conditions, including heart disease and diabetes—both of which are also contributing factors to hearing loss.
Do You Have Sleep Apnea? Schedule Your Hearing Test Today!
The audiologist and staff can give sleep apnea patients peace of mind and stop the progression of their hearing condition. Call us today at (866) 517-4415 to schedule your hearing testing appointment (Link to Hearing Testing and Screening PRACTICE AREA page) at one of our convenient Florida offices!