Link between ISSNHL and affective disorders

Sudden hearing loss

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Researchers from Hallym University College of Medicine in Chuncheon, Republic of Korea have found that patients with idiopathic sudden sensorineural hearing loss (ISSNHL) are at increased risk of developing affective disorders including depression or anxiety.

To carry out their study, the researchers used a nationwide propensity score-matched cohort sample from the Korean National Health Insurance Service database, which contains data for approximately 1 million patients. They covered the years 2002 through 2013. In all, the analysis included 1,425 patients with idiopathic sudden sensorineural hearing loss (ISSNHL) and 7,125 people without ISSNHL in the control group.

The authors explain that SSNHL is one of the few emergencies in otology, and that while most affected people recover spontaneously, some face partial or no recovery. For this second group of patients, loss of an essential function for communication is “a terrifying experience and a significant stressor.”

Results showed that of the study population reaching 8,550, a total of 961 individuals developed affective disorders during the 11-year follow-up period: 225 in the ISSNHL group (15.8%), and 736 in the control group (10.3%). Among the affective disorders, the hazard ratio (HR) of developing depression (HR=1.66) and anxiety disorder (HR=1.79), but not bipolar disorder (HR=0.95), was significantly greater in patients with ISSNHL.

Source: Source: Psych Congress; Kim JY et al. Association of Idiopathic Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss With Affective Disorders. JAMA Otolaryngology – Head & Neck Surgery. 2018 May 31.