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Sudden Hearing Loss Linked to Increased Stroke Risk

Risk 64 percent higher after sudden sensorineural hearing loss than in general population

MONDAY, June 30 (HealthDay News) -- After an acute episode of sudden sensorineural hearing loss (SSNHL), individuals have an increased risk of stroke, according to research published online June 26 in the journal Stroke.

Herng-Ching Lin, Ph.D., of the Taipei Medical University in Taipei, Taiwan, and colleagues analyzed data from a cohort of 1,423 subjects hospitalized with SSNHL, along with a control cohort of 5,692 appendectomy patients, who served as a surrogate for the general population. Researchers have long thought that vascular factors may play a role in SSNHL.

Over a five-year follow-up period, 12.7 percent of the SSNHL patients and 7.8 percent of the appendectomy patients had a stroke, resulting in an adjusted 1.64 times higher likelihood of stroke in the SSNHL patients. Only 12.2 percent of the strokes in the SSNHL patients occurred within three months of the SSNHL onset, and roughly half of their strokes occurred more than two years after the onset.

"We suggest that SSNHL patients, particularly those with other vascular conditions or elderly patients, should undergo a comprehensive hematologic and neurological examination to help clinicians identify those who are potentially at risk for stroke in the near future. Furthermore, because approximately half of the strokes occurred more than two years after SSNHL onset, routine follow-up examinations should be executed for at least several years after patients are discharged from hospitals for treatment of SSNHL," the authors write.

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