Objective: As habitual snoring affects a large percentage of the population and is associated with various medical and social complications, we examined whether loud snoring is also associated with noise-induced hearing loss for the snorers and/or their bed partners.
Patient selection: Healthy adults between the ages of 35 and 55 years with subjective symptoms of severe snoring were screened to exclude those with a past history of noise exposure (e.g., factory workers, army personnel), use of ototoxic medications, and previously diagnosed hearing disorder.
Main outcome measures: Behavioural audiograms and otoacoustic emission testing were used to evaluate the subjects' hearing.
Results: Although all of the snorers did not demonstrate consistent hearing loss patterns, all four bed partners of snorers in our study demonstrated a unilateral high-frequency pattern of hearing loss consistent with noise-induced hearing loss. Furthermore, the affected ear in every case was the one that was claimed to be chronically exposed to snoring noise.
Conclusions: The findings suggest that there may be a relationship between snoring and noise-induced hearing loss in the bed partners of chronic snorers. Further investigation of this association may enable the population at risk to identify early hearing loss in order that appropriate management of noise exposure and snoring can be recommended, including preventive measures and medical and surgical therapies.