New York | Diabetes may impair the hearing ability by damaging the auditory system, according to new research which suggests that doctors should include hearing testing in managing type 2 diabetes.
An association between diabetes and hearing impairment in human subjects has been shown in many, but not all, studies, said Elizabeth Helzner from SUNY Downstate Medical Centre in the US. Direct comparison of these studies is complicated due to a lack of consistency in defining hearing impairment and other factors, said Helzner.
However, the association between diabetes and hearing impairment tends to be stronger in studies that included younger participants, perhaps because in older samples, other causes of agerelated hearing impairment may mask the contribution of diabetes to the impairment, she added.
This factor in itself lends weight to the notion that type 2 diabetes can damage hearing, researchers said. They added that welldesigned longitudinal studies are necessary in order to explore whether patients with diabetes are at increased risk of earlyonset hearing impairment.
Researchers said studies should also explore whether the progression of hearing impairment varies based on diabetes status, as well as disease management factors, after taking other known contributors to hearing sensitivity into account.
Hearing impairment has been associated with social isolation and depression, cognitive decline and incident dementia, a higher propensity for falls and hospitalisations, and increased mortality, researchers said. The findings were published in the journal Current Diabetes Reports.
Subscribe to our email newsletter.