Asthma tied to risk of sudden sensorineural hearing loss

04 Feb 2022
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.

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