Increased sleep apnea risk among middle-aged men tied to hearing loss
China: In middle-aged males with high, intermediate/high risk for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), the risk of hearing impairment is significantly increased, especially at a high frequency of 4 kHz, claims a recent study in PLOS One.Midlife males with obstructive sleep apnea bear a high risk for cardiovascular diseases (CVDs). However, there is a controversy on the association between OSA...
China: In middle-aged males with high, intermediate/high risk for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), the risk of hearing impairment is significantly increased, especially at a high frequency of 4 kHz, claims a recent study in PLOS One.
Midlife males with obstructive sleep apnea bear a high risk for cardiovascular diseases (CVDs). However, there is a controversy on the association between OSA and hearing impairment. Zhong Xin, Department of Endocrinology, Beijing Tongren Hospital, Capital Medical University, Beijing, China, and colleagues aimed to observe the incidence of hearing loss in middle-aged males with different risks for OSA.
The study recruited 794 men aged 40–65 between January and June 2021 who participated in health examination and pure tone hearing screening. Collection of medical history was done. Testing of height, weight, and blood pressure were done, and biochemical test including blood lipids and blood glucose was performed.
The observed subjects were divided into low, intermediate, and high groups for OSA risk according to the STOP-BANG score. Hearing impairment was defined as a failure in responding to any pure tone of 25 dB HL in any ear at the frequencies: 4 kHz for the high-frequency range and 0.5k, 1k, and 2 kHz for the low/medium frequency range. In those groups, the occurrence of hearing loss was compared after adjusting the cardiovascular risk factors.
Based on the study, the researchers reported the following findings:
- The incidence of hearing impairment in the groups of intermediate, high, and intermediate/high risk for OSA (46.9%, 45.2%, 46.3%, respectively) were higher than that in the group of low risk for OSA (33.3%).
- · After adjusting cardiovascular risk factors, the risk of hearing impairment in the group of high risk for OSA is 1.64 times of the group of low risk for OSA.
- · The risk of hearing impairment at high frequency(4kHz) in the group of intermediate/high risk for OSA is 1.43 times of the group of low-risk for OSA.
"The intermediate/high risk for OSA in Chinese midlife men was associated with hearing impairment, especially at the high frequency of 4 kHz," the researchers wrote in their study.
"This finding reminded us of the early identification of midlife men with OSA risk as a population at high risk for hearing impairment, hence offering the proper intervention to prevent consequent deterioration of hearing loss," they concluded.
Li Y, Wang X, Cui J, Ren J, Xin Z, Chen D (2022) Increasing obstructive sleep apnea risk is associated with hearing impairment in middle-aged Chinese men—A cross-sectional study. PLoS ONE 17(5): e0268412. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0268412