Can't Hear the Trouble with ED

Sudden sensorineural hearing loss tied to erectile dysfunction

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD Beth Bolt, RPh

(RxWiki News) What's that you say? Hearing problems in men may lead to what? Hearing loss could mean that men might have trouble getting and staying aroused later on.

Men with sudden sensorineural hearing loss (SSHL) were almost twice as likely on average to develop erectile dysfunction later on as men who had not had hearing loss, a recently published study found.

Hearing loss in men could be a sign of erectile dysfunction in the future, according to the researchers.

"Get your hearing checked."

This study, led by Hsin-Te Hsu, MD, from the Department of Otolaryngology at Taipei Medical University Hospital, investigated whether sudden sensorineural hearing loss (SSHL) could lead to erectile dysfunction.

In SSHL, individuals lose the hearing in one ear over the course of one to several days. The affected ear may feel full and be accompanied by ringing.

This study included more than 23,000 Taiwanese men who were diagnosed with SSHL between January 2001 and December 2006. The researchers also looked at another 46,000 men who did not lose their hearing.

These men were listed in the National Health Insurance Research Database, which is part of the National Health Insurance Program in Taiwan.

In the study, hearing loss was defined as losing 30 or more decibels of hearing ability over three audio frequencies. A normal conversation is at 60 to 65 decibels.

The researchers tracked how many of the study participants also had erectile dysfunction, as diagnosed through a patient-administered questionnaire.

The researchers also noted whether these men had hypertension (high blood pressure), diabetes, chronic renal (kidney) disease or hyperlipidemia.

The participants were divided into one of three age groups: 16 to 34 years of age, 35 to 49 years and 50 to 64 years old.

The researchers found that men with SSHL were about twice as likely to have experienced erectile dysfunction.

By age, the youngest group of men with SSHL was about 1.9 times more likely to have erectile dysfunction than the youngest group of men without SSHL.

Erectile dysfunction was about 2.25 times more likely among the second oldest age group with SSHL compared to men in the same age group without the condition.

Among the oldest group of men, erectile dysfunction was about 1.84 times more likely among men with SSHL compared to others without SSHL.

Further, men with SSHL who also had hypertension or chronic renal disease seemed to have an even greater risk of developing erectile dysfunction, according to the researchers.

"Knowledge regarding a patients’ elevated risk of developing erectile dysfunction after SSHL could add to the evidence supporting an underlying vascular pathomechanism regarding the development of SSHL," the researchers wrote in their report. "In addition, particular emphasis could be placed on the early detection of erectile dysfunction in patients with both SSHL and chronic renal disease."

The authors noted that some data was missing and was not included in their analysis, including whether patients were obese, exercised or smoked.

The researchers also did not know the severity of each patient's hearing loss.

This study, supported by the Taipei Medical University-Chi Mei Medical Center Research Fund, was published in the July issue of the journal Otology & Neurotology. No conflicts of interest were reported.

Review Date: 
June 19, 2013
Last Updated:
December 30, 2013