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Clin Rheumatol. 2019 Mar;38(3):683-689. doi: 10.1007/s10067-018-4333-6. Epub 2018 Oct 15.

Increased risk of sudden sensory neural hearing loss in patients with rheumatoid arthritis: a longitudinal follow-up study using a national sample cohort.

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Department of Otorhinolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Seoul National University Hospital, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, South Korea.
Department of Laboratory Medicine, Hallym University College of Medicine, Anyang, Korea.
Department of Internal Medicine, Asan Medical Center, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, Seoul, South Korea.
Department of Laboratory Medicine, Hallym University College of Medicine, Anyang, Korea.
Department of Otorhinolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery, Hallym University Sacred Heart Hospital, 22, Gwanpyeong-ro 170beon-gil, Dongan-gu, Anyang-si, Gyeonggi-do, 14068, Republic of Korea.


To evaluate the association between sudden sensorineural hearing loss (SSNHL) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA) among a national sample cohort from Korea. Data were collected from 2002 through 2013 for individuals aged ≥ 20 years in the Korean National Health Insurance Service (NHIS)-National Sample Cohort. We extracted the data from RA patients (n = 7619) and 1:4-matched controls (n = 30,476) and analyzed the occurrence of SSNHL. Matching was performed based on age, sex, income, region of residence, and medical history. RA was diagnosed based on International Classification of Disease-10 (ICD-10) codes (M05 or M06) and prescriptions for the antirheumatic drugs. SSNHL was diagnosed based on the relevant ICD-10 code (H912). Among the SSNHL participants, we included only those who had undergone an audiometry exam (claim codes: E6931-E6937, F6341-F6348) and received treatment with steroids. The crude and adjusted hazard ratios (HRs) were calculated using Cox-proportional hazard models, and the 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were determined. Subgroup analyses based on age and sex were also performed. The rate of SSNHL in the RA group (0.8% [62/7619]) was higher than that in the control group (0.6% [177/30,476], P = 0.021). The crude and adjusted HRs for SSNHL were 1.40 (95% CI = 1.05-1.87) and 1.39 (95% CI = 1.04-1.86), respectively, in the RA group (each P < 0.05). The relationship between RA and SSNHL was observed primarily in patients aged ≥ 50 years and men. The risk of SSNHL is higher in patients with RA.


Cohort study; Comorbidity; Rheumatoid arthritis; Sudden sensorineural hearing loss

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