Healthy Living

Sleep Apnea and Hearing Loss? Study Discovers Possible Link

Sleep apnea and the CPAP can result in conductive hearing loss

Temporary conductive hearing occurs as a result of swelling that prevents equal amounts of air pressure between the middle ear and the outside ear. When the pressure is higher in the middle ear, this prevents contact between the eardrum and the hammer bone because the eardrum bulges out. This gives the ear the feeling of being “clogged” almost as if there was something stuffed inside or too much fluid on the outside. Noise sounds are muffled. This can be a temporary condition with hearing returning back to normal when the air pressure equalizes.

Obstructive sleep apnea and the CPAP device cause this effect on the ear. Another factor that can worsen this situation is if the patient comes down with sinus or ear infection. This infection can take as long as weeks or even months to heal. In the meantime, the additional inflammation imposed on the nose and throat prevents equal pressure between the eardrum and middle ear, thus causing conductive hear loss.