A review of studies by researchers at SUNY Downstate Medical Center into possible links between type 2 diabetes and hearing loss concludes there is compelling evidence that diabetes can damage the auditory system, and that clinicians should include hearing testing in managing type 2 diabetes. The survey results were published in an article titled, “Type 2 Diabetes and Hearing Impairment” in a January 2016 online edition of Current Diabetes Reports.
“An association between diabetes and hearing impairment in human subjects has been shown in many, but not all, studies,” said Elizabeth Helzner, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics in the School of Public Health at SUNY Downstate Medical Center. “Direct comparison of these studies is complicated due to a lack of consistency in defining hearing impairment and other factors.”
Helzner reported that the association between diabetes and hearing loss tends to be stronger in studies that included younger participants, possibly because in older samples other causes of age-related hearing loss may mask the contribution of diabetes to the loss.
Helzner and her co-author note in their article that the epidemiologic study of the relationship between diabetes and hearing impairment is relatively new, and comment that well-designed longitudinal studies are necessary in order to explore whether patients with diabetes are at increased risk of early-onset hearing loss. They would like to explore whether the progression of hearing loss varies based on diabetes status, as well as disease management factors, after taking into account other known contributors to hearing sensitivity.
Source: SUNY Downstate Medical Center