Having HIV appears to increase the risk of sudden sensorineural hearing loss, at least among younger patients, researchers reported.
Compared with HIV-negative controls, people living with HIV who were 35 or younger had double the risk of sudden hearing loss, according to Yung-Song Lin, MD, of Taipei Medical University in Taiwan, and colleagues.
But, in a retrospective population-based cohort, there was no significant difference between the groups for people 36 or older, Lin and colleagues reported online in JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery.
Up to 44% of HIV-positive people have a chronic hearing impairment, for a variety of reasons, Lin and colleagues noted. Sudden sensorineural hearing loss in HIV-positive people, on the other hand, has been reported occasionally but there are no case series or cohort studies of the condition in those with the virus.
To help fill the gap, they looked at medical records from the country's national health insurance system on a cohort of 8,760 HIV-positive people diagnosed between Jan. 1, 2001, and Dec. 31, 2006.
For comparison, they included 43,800 people with other insurance claims but without HIV.
In Taiwan, Lin and colleagues noted, sudden sensorineural hearing loss is defined as loss of 30 decibels or more in at least three contiguous audiometric frequencies that develops over a period of a few hours to 3 days.
To account for the effect of age, the study cohort was divided into those 18 through 35, and those older than 35.
In the younger HIV-positive group, Lin and colleagues found, there were 11 cases of the condition in 25,439 person-years of follow-up. Among the younger controls, there were 26 cases in 130,722 person-years of follow-up.
By Michael Smith
Full Story - Medpage Today