Previous studies have proposed that impaired cochlear blood perfusion and microvascular damage are important etiopathogenetic events in the development of sudden sensorineural hearing loss (SSHL). The purpose of this study was to test the hypothesis that SSHL is a risk factor for the development of erectile dysfunction (ED).
A retrospective cohort study.
Population-based study of Taiwan National Health Insurance Research Database.
We compared male patients newly diagnosed with SSHL between January 1, 2001, and December 31, 2006 (N = 23,212), with age-matched controls (1:2) (N = 46,424).
Main Outcome Measures
The incidence of ED at the end of 2009 was determined.
After adjusting for potential confounding factors, we found an adjusted hazard ratio (HR) of 1.942 (95% confidence interval, 1.688–2.233, p < 0.05), showing that patients with SSHL were more likely to experience ED than the control population. When stratified by patients’ age, the incidence of ED was 1.90-, 2.25-, and 1.84-fold higher for SSHL-diagnosed patients 16 to 34 years old (p = 0.0408), 35 to 49 years old (p < 0.0001), and 50 to 64 years old (p < 0.0001), respectively, than in the non-SSHL group. Hypertension and chronic renal disease comorbidities in patients with SSHL seemed to be associated with an increased risk of developing ED.
SSHL may confer an independent risk of ED. This observation supports the assumption of the underlying vascular mechanism regarding the development of SSHL. Thus, clinicians managing SSHL patients should be aware of the potential of the development of ED.