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Scientists Tie Sudden Deafness To Sleep Apnea



People who have sleep related breathing disorders maybe prone to sudden deafness, new research shows. According to a report published in the Archives of Otolaryngology Head & Neck Surgery, Taiwanese scientists have found a link between sleep apnea and sudden deafness.

Taiwanese researchers investigated the association between sleep apnea and sudden hearing loss across a national population. To get their data, they used the Taiwan Longitudinal Health Insurance Database to randomly extract information from 19,152 male and female patients. Of this number, they identified 3192 patients whom had been diagnosed with sudden sensorineaural hearing loss (SSNHL), the remaining 15,960 patients did not have the disorder and thus served as controls.

Their results showed that men with sudden hearing loss were more likely to have suffered from sleep apnea than healthy men in the control group. Interestingly, researchers found no such association between sudden deafness and sleep apnea in women.

The Taiwanese scientific team said that further research into the differences between the sexes as well as the underlying mechanisms of the disorder is needed.

Sleep apnea is disorder characterized by slow and interrupted breathing patterns. It often results from too much relaxation in the throat and tongue muscles. When these muscles become too relaxed, the air passages are cut off, leading to lack of oxygen to the brain and a drop in blood pressure.

The human body is a remarkable creation of God, with all of the organs of the body interacting with each other and the external environment in complex ways. Since the brain needs oxygen to survive, oxygen deprivation could lead to life threatening consequences. Because every cell of the body needs oxygen and nutrients which are transported by the circulatory system, it's possible that lack of blood to the ears could contribute to auditory problems.  

Fortunately, sleep apnea is treatable, and people can be taught to maintain normal breathing patterns during sleep.

For more information on sleep apnea, visit the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute.


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Article Source 

Sheu, J., Wu, C., & Lin, H. (2012). Association Between Obstructive Sleep Apnea and Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss: A Population-Based Case-Control Study Archives of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery, 138 (1), 55-59 DOI: 10.1001/archoto.2011.227


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