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Albany Med Today

Dr. Chopra Finds Link Between Sleep Apnea and Hearing Loss

Pulmonologist Amit Chopra, MD, received international attention recently for a study he led that suggests a tie between sleep apnea and hearing impairment. Funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and the National Institutes of Health, the study examined close to 14,000 test subjects nationwide.

Dr. Chopra’s study is the first to suggest that sleep apnea, a disorder that occurs when a person’s breathing is interrupted during sleep, might be linked to hearing loss.  The disorder has previously been tied to increased risk of heart disease, diabetes and erectile dysfunction.

Of the patients he studied with sleep apnea, 31 percent had an increased risk of high frequency hearing impairment, 90 percent had an increased risk of low frequency hearing impairment and 38 percent had an increased risk of both.

“Our findings suggest that a person who has sleep apnea should be screened for hearing loss,” Dr. Chopra said.

The faculty physician, who recently celebrated his one-year anniversary at Albany Med, is now conducting research related to pleural effusion, a condition in which excess fluid builds up around the lung. He is working with fellow faculty physicians Peter Doelken, MD, and Marc Judson, MD.

“Our goal,” Dr. Chopra said, “is to better understand the changes in diaphragm thickness during drainage of pleural effusion, so we can better help people who suffer from it.”
In addition to his research, Dr. Chopra is also seeing new patients. His specialties include interstitial lung disease, pleural effusion, lung cancer and asthma.