Viviana Nicastro*, Annamaria Zagaria*, Pietro Abita*, Giuseppe Alberti*, Sabrina Loteta*, Carmen Azieli*, Natalia Catalano*, Alessandro Meduri**, Giuseppe Romano*


*Department of Adult and Development Age Human Pathology “Gaetano Barresi”, unit of Otorhinolaryngology, University of Messina, Italy - **Department of Adult and Development Age Human Pathology “Gaetano Barresi”, unit of Ophthalmology, University of Messina, Italy


Objective: Obstructive Sleep Apnea Syndrome (OSAS) is a syndrome characterized by obstruction of upper airways with several episodes of apnea and hypopnea. There are many consequences reported in literature, among them, cochlea seems to be damaged by lack of oxygenation with possible auditory loss. The aim of this work is to summarize the effect of OSAS on cochlear function and the factors, which determine it.  

Methods: We have selected found on PubMed by searching with the keywords “hearing loss” and “obstructive sleep apnea”. We found 11 manuscript, but only 4 satisfied inclusion criteria. We reviewed 4 manuscript that enrolled a total of 200 patient. Our review evaluated percentage of tinnitus, pure tone average for the frequencies from 250 to 8000 Hz and from 9000 to 16000 Hz, Transient-evoked otoacoustic emissions (TEOAE) for each ear, Distortion product otoacoustic emissions (DPOAEs), Latency of the V wave in Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR).

Results: The 57.14% of moderate to severe OSAS reported tinnitus from tinnitus with respect to the 31.03% of mild OSAS (P=0.024). Higher percentage of hearing loss (41.66%) was found in patient with severe and moderate OSAS (P<0.0001) particular for 6-16 kHz frequencies (P<0.05). Otoacoustic emissions evidenced a difference between patients with simple snoring and patients with severe OSAS for 3 and 4 kHz frequencies (p<0.05).

Conclusion: These data show that snoring may cause hearing loss at extended high frequencies. Oxidative stress and ROS have been implicated in the activation of the inflammatory response with cytokines and chemokines, endothelial dysfunction and vascular damage, which can contribute to the development of sensory neural hearing loss.


OSAS, hearing loss, Obstructive Sleep Apnea, review.