Significance: Psoriasis, a common immune-mediated disease, affects approximately 2% of the population worldwide. Sudden sensorineural hearing loss (SSNHL) might be a manifestation of systemic vascular involvement in autoimmune disease. However, to the best of our knowledge, there is no systematic English-language examination of the risk of SSNHL in patients with psoriasis.
Objectives: We tested the hypothesis that psoriasis is a risk factor for developing SSNHL.
Methods: Using Taiwan's National Health Insurance Research Database, we conducted a retrospective cohort study to compare patients diagnosed with psoriasis from January 1, 2001 through December 31, 2006 (n=28,817) with gender-, age-, and comorbidities-matched controls (n=28,817). We followed each patient until the end of 2011 and evaluated the incidence of SSNHL for at least 6 years after the initial psoriasis diagnosis.
Results: The incidence of SSNHL was 1.51 times higher in the psoriasis cohort than in the control cohort (7.12 vs 4.73 per 10,000 person-years). Using Cox proportional hazard regressions, the adjusted hazard ratio (AHR) was 1.51 (95% confidence interval [CI] 1.18-1.93). Comorbid hypertension was an independent risk factor for SSNHL (AHR 1.49; 95% CI 1.05-2.13). However, the incidence rate ratios (IRRs) for each comorbidity subgroup in the psoriasis and control cohorts were not significantly different.
Conclusions and relevance: Psoriasis was significantly associated with a higher risk of developing SSNHL. We suggest that physicians advise patients with psoriasis to seek medical attention if they have hearing impairments, because they may also have a higher risk of developing SSNHL.