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Study: Sleep Apnea Increases Risk of Hearing Loss

More research is needed to prove a direct link


A study that examined data from nearly 14,000 people in the U.S. has found a link between sleep apnea and hearing loss.

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Researchers analyzed the results from the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos. Participants in the study were subjected to audiometric testing to discern hearing loss and in-home sleep studies. The study revealed that 30% of those who participated suffered from some type of hearing loss, and 10% experienced sleep apnea, HealthDay notes.

Participants who had sleep apnea had a 90% increase in hearing loss at low frequencies and 31% rise in hearing loss at high frequencies. Hearing loss at both high and low frequencies was 38% higher in participants with sleep apnea.

Results from the study were presented at the American Thoracic Society annual meeting, but has not yet been published in a peer-reviewed medical journal. Additional research will be needed to demonstrate a direct link between hearing loss and sleep apnea.

About 18 million people in the U.S. experience sleep apnea, which is marked by snoring or gasping noises. Sleep apnea can disrupt sleep patterns and has been linked to other medical problems.

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