HIV Infection Associated with Increased Risk of Sensorineural Hearing Loss

A study using data from the Taiwan National Health Insurance Research Database by Charlene Lin, B.S., University of California, Berkley, suggests that human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection is associated with an increased risk of developing sudden sensorineural hearing loss (SSHL) in patients ages 18 to 35 years, particularly among male patients. (Online First)

A total of 8,760 patients with HIV and 43,800 individuals without HIV who served as contacts were selected from insurance claims between January 2001 and December 2006.

The incidence of SSHL was 2.17-fold higher in the HIV group than in the control group (4.32 vs. 1.99 per 10,000 person-years). The risk of developing SSHL increased with HIV infection. Among male patients, the incidence of developing SSHL was 2.23-fold higher in the HIV group than in the control group. The incidence of SSHL did not differ significantly between the HIV group and the control group for patients 36 years or older, according to the study results.

“The major finding in this study is that patients aged 18 to 35 years who were diagnosed as having HIV between January 1, 2001 and December 31, 2006, had a substantially higher incidence of SSHL than the general population without HIV,” the study concludes.

JAMA Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. Published online February 21, 2013. doi:10.1001/jamaoto.2013.1709.