Asthma tied to risk of sudden sensorineural hearing loss
Adult asthma patients are at heightened risk of developing sudden sensorineural hearing loss (SSNHL), as suggested in a study.
The study used data from the 2002–2013 Korean National Health Insurance Service-Health Screening Cohort. A total of 90,564 asthma patients aged ≥40 years and 90,564 matched nonasthma participants (control) were included in the analysis.
Over a mean follow-up of 87 months, more asthma patients than controls developed SSNHL (887 [1.0 percent] vs 706 [0.8 percent]; p<0.001). There were no differences in the general characteristics of the asthma and control groups, although the former had higher Charlson Comorbidity Index score (p<0.001), atopic dermatitis rate (p<0.001), proportion of patients with obesity, and lower alcohol consumption.
On multivariable Cox regression analysis, the risk of SSNHL was 23-percent higher in the asthma group than in the control group (hazard ratio [HR], 1.23, 95 percent confidence interval [CI], 1.11–1.36; p<0.001).
Subgroup analyses according to age and sex showed that the risk increase persisted in both younger and old women with asthma compared with their nonasthmatic counterparts (<60 years: HR, 1.29, 95 percent CI, 1.08–1.54; ≥60 years: HR, 1.24, 95 percent CI, 1.01–1.52). This difference was not observed in men.
Furthermore, asthma patients in both the nonsmoker and current smoker groups had a higher risk of SSNHL relative to controls. This held true in the <1 time a week alcohol consumption group and normal weight and severe obesity groups.
The findings underscore a need to identify the potential contribution of asthma on the development of SSNHL when treating both asthma and SSNHL patients.