European Archives of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology

, Volume 273, Issue 6, pp 1419–1424 | Cite as

Audiologic profile of OSAS and simple snoring patients: the effect of chronic nocturnal intermittent hypoxia on auditory function

  • Francesco Martines
  • Antonella Ballacchino
  • Federico Sireci
  • Marianna Mucia
  • Eleonora La Mattina
  • Serena Rizzo
  • Pietro SalvagoEmail author


The objective of this work was to study the effect of nocturnal intermittent hypoxia on auditory function of simple snoring patients and subjects affected by OSAS; we compared the audiologic profile with the severity of OSAS to detect early signs of cochlear damage. One hundred-sixty patients underwent overnight polysomnography, micro-otoscopy, multi-frequency audiometry, acufenometry, TEOAE recording and d-ROMs test. All subjects were divided in four groups, based on presence/absence of AHI (simple snoring without OSAS, mild OSAS, moderate OSAS, severe OSAS). Sixty (37.5 %) patients were not affected by OSAS, 58 (36.25 %) presented a mild OSAS, 18 (11.25 %) a moderate OSAS and 24 (15 %) a severe OSAS; the 57.14 % of moderate to severe OSAS suffered from tinnitus with respect to the 31.03 % of mild OSAS (P = 0.024). A higher percentage (41.66 %) of hearing loss was found among individuals with moderate to severe degree of OSAS (P < 0.0001). All groups were characterized by a mean hearing threshold <25 dB HL for 0.25–3 kHz frequencies and a progressive decrease in hearing sensitivity, particularly for 6–16 kHz frequencies (P < 0.05). The analysis of otoacoustic emissions SNR mean values evidenced a significant difference between simple snoring and severe OSAS individuals for 3 and 4 kHz frequencies (P < 0.05). d-ROM levels resulted higher in patients with severe OSAS with respect to simple snoring subjects (P = 0.004). Our data underline the key role of chronic nocturnal intermittent hypoxia in the development of an early cochlear damage and a more marked high-frequency hearing loss in case of severe OSAS (P < 0.05).


OSAS Hearing loss Tinnitus Multi-frequency audiometry TEOAE 


Compliance with the ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Francesco Martines
    • 1
  • Antonella Ballacchino
    • 2
  • Federico Sireci
    • 1
  • Marianna Mucia
    • 1
    • 2
  • Eleonora La Mattina
    • 2
  • Serena Rizzo
    • 2
  • Pietro Salvago
    • 1
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.Dipartimento di Biomedicina Sperimentale e Neuroscienze Cliniche, (BioNeC), Sezione di OtorinolaringoiatriaUniversità degli Studi di PalermoPalermoItaly
  2. 2.Dipartimento di Biopatologia e Biotecnologie Mediche e Forensi (Di.Bi.Me.F.), Sezione di AudiologiaUniversità degli Studi di PalermoPalermoItaly
  3. 3.PalermoItaly

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