Since the FIFA World Cup quarter-finals began, there has been a 20 percent increase in people developing symptoms of sudden sensorineural hearing loss (SSHL) or sudden deafness, from staying up late to watch the matches, a local newspaper reported.
The Chinese-language Apple Daily on Monday reported a case in which a 28-year-old woman had stayed up almost every night for two weeks to watch World Cup games. Despite developing a cold, the woman was not deterred from staying up to watch another game.
The report quoted the woman as saying: “The ceiling swam and I even fell down a couple of times” after watching the game, but she ignored the symptoms and returned home to sleep before work.
The woman overslept and decided to call in sick. However, upon calling her company to request a sick day, she realized that she could hear nothing in her left ear and went to see a doctor, the report said.
The paper quoted Ministry of Health and Welfare Taoyuan General Hospital’s Division of Otolaryngology doctor Chen Ching-chung (陳景中) as saying that the woman’s lack of sleep — she had averaged about five hours per day over two weeks — had greatly lowered her resistance to viral infections.
The temperature difference between air-conditioned buildings and the summer weather outside had caused her to catch a cold, which also affected the vestibular nerve in her inner ear, the report said.
The sudden sensorineural hearing loss made the woman feel dizzy, the newspaper said.
She was lucky to have sought medical help early and would recover her hearing with the help of medication, the paper said.
The report quoted Chen as saying that the number of people reporting similar problems had increased by at least 20 percent since the World Cup entered the quarter-final stage.
Li Po-hung (力博宏), a doctor in Cheng Hsin General Hospital’s Division of Otolaryngology, said the condition is due to clogged capillaries in the ear, adding that people who develop SSHL often suffer from tinnitus beforehand.
The golden period for curing SSHL is within one week of its onset, Lu said, adding that if treatment is delayed beyond this period, one out of every three patients suffer some form of damage to their hearing, with the worst being permanent hearing loss.
Doctors suggested a diet of spinach and grapefruit, or other food rich in vitamin B, to facilitate the body’s efforts to regain hearing, the report said.
People should get eight hours of sleep a night to keep their immunity up, Chen said, adding that if fans want to stay up late to watch soccer matches, they should try to get two to three hours of sleep after work and then get up to watch a game.