Periodontitis and Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss
Although no one knows the exact cause of a given case of sudden sensorineural hearing loss (SSNHL), the potential etiologies of SSNHL are vast. The National Institutes of Deafness and Communication Disorders (NIDCD) report more than 100 possible etiologies, including infectious diseases, trauma (such as a head injury), abnormal tissue growth, immunologic diseases, such as Cogan’s syndrome, toxic causes (such as snake bites), ototoxic drugs (drugs that harm the ear), circulatory problems, neurologic causes (such as multiple sclerosis), disorders such as Ménière’s disease, and, of course, viral and bacterial infections have often been implicated.
Despite the specific and unknown cause of a given case of SSNHL, Wu and colleagues (2013) report that SSNHL occurs in approximately 9/100,000 men and 8/100,000 women. They report that infection has garnered significant attention in the last decades as a primary contributory factor in SSNHL. Further, Wu and colleagues note that chronic periodontitis (CP) "is among the most common chronic infectious and inflammatory disorders affecting humans worldwide." CP generally involves chronic inflammation of tissues that support the teeth, destruction of periodontal ligaments, and progressive loss of alveolar bone around the teeth."
The authors reported 2,518 people with SSNHL and 7,308 people as controls (total = 9,744 sampled people). The mean age for the two groups was 51.5 years (standard deviation 17.4 years) and the data was gathered from the Taiwan National Health Insurance Institute. Wu and colleagues report that "…SSNHL was significantly associated with a previous diagnosis of CP…."
For More Information, References, and Recommendations
NIDCD June, 2010, Wu C-S, Yang T-H, Lin H-C, Sheu J-J, Chu D. (2013) Sudden Sensorineural hearing Loss Associated with Chronic Periodontitis – A Population-Based Study. Otology & Neurotology 34:1380-1384.