Introduction. Although the cause of sudden sensorineural hearing loss (SSNHL) is yet to be elucidated, many theories have been proposed regarding potentially contributory etiologies. One increasingly well-supported theory purports an underlying vascular pathomechanism. If this is the case, SSNHL may also associate with conditions comorbid with vascular diseases, such as erectile dysfunction (ED). However, no studies to date have investigated the association between ED and SSNHL. Aim. This study set out to estimate a putative association between ED and having been previously diagnosed with SSNHL using a population-based dataset with a case-control design. Methods. This study used administrative claim data from the Taiwan National Health Insurance program. We identified 4,504 patients with ED as the study group and randomly selected 22,520 patients as the comparison group. Conditional logistic regression was used to examine the association between ED and having previously received a diagnosis of SSNHL. Main Outcome Measure. The prevalence and risk of SSNHL between cases and controls were calculated. Results. Of the sampled patients, 41 (0.15%) had been diagnosed with SSNHL before the index date; 22 (0.49% of the cases) were from the study group and 19 (0.08% of controls) were from the control group. Conditional logistic regression analysis revealed that after adjusting for the patient's monthly income, geographic location, hypertension, diabetes, hyperlipidemia, coronary heart disease, obesity, and alcohol abuse/alcohol dependence syndrome status, patients with ED were more likely than controls to have been diagnosed with SSNHL before the index date (odds ratio=6.06, 95% confidence interval=3.25-11.29). Conclusions. There was an association between ED and prior SSNHL. The results of this study add to the evidence supporting an underlying vascular pathomechanism regarding the development of SSNHL and highlight a need for clinicians dealing with SSNHL patients to be alert to the development of ED.
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