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Otorhinolaryngology 2022 December;72(4):172-7

DOI: 10.23736/S2724-6302.22.02428-8


lingua: Inglese

Sudden sensorineural hearing loss: does a seasonal variation exist? A single-center retrospective study in Italy and a review of literature

Alfredo DE GIORGI 1, Andrea CIORBA 2, Fabio FABBIAN 1, Chiara BIANCHINI 2 , Virginia CORAZZI 2, Francesco STOMEO 2, Stefano PELUCCHI 2, Roberto MANFREDINI 1

1 Medical Clinic, University Hospital of Ferrara, Ferrara, Italy; 2 ENT and Audiology Unit, Department of Neuroscience and Rehabilitation, University Hospital of Ferrara, Ferrara, Italy

BACKGROUND: Sudden sensorineural hearing loss (SSNHL) is a frightening symptom that often prompts an urgent or emergent visit to a healthcare provider. The aim of this study was to investigate whether a seasonal periodicity in the occurrence of SSNHL exists.
METHODS: A retrospective study was conducted on cases of SSNHL referred across twenty years (23 September 2000 - 22 September 2020) at the local Ear-Nose-Throat (ENT) and Audiology Unit. For each case, date of onset, age, sex, presence of tinnitus or dizziness, involvement of other cranial nerves, and persistence of hearing loss after 4 weeks, were recorded.
RESULTS: A total of 267 consecutive cases of SSNHL (49.4% males, mean age 55±15 years) were included. A seasonal periodicity was characterized by a not significant peak in summer and trough in winter (P=0.063). But comparison if cases happening in the warm and cold months showed a higher rate of observed/expected ratio (151 vs. 116 patients, P=0.035) during the warm months. These results were related to women (81 vs. 54, P=0.021), and older subjects (≥65 years) (58 vs. 38, P=0.033).
CONCLUSIONS: SSNHL showed significant variations across the year, with highest frequency of onset during warm months, particularly in hot period, especially if ages ≥65 years and women. Environmental cues, relationship with possible disruption of biological rhythms and sleep disorders, and sex-oriented differences could be interesting pieces of the puzzle of the complex etiology of this clinical picture.

KEY WORDS: Hearing Loss; Chronobiology discipline; Sleep disorders, circadian rhythm

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