Archive for July 2nd, 2008

Hearing Loss and Diabetes…

July 2, 2008

Go to fullsize imageI have long suspected a relationship. 

It seems more prevalent the older the patient gets but seems to be more common among my diabetic nowadays.  And my suspicion is right based on a new article published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, July issue:


Background: Diabetes might affect the vasculature and neural system of the inner ear, leading to hearing impairment.

Design: Cross-sectional analysis of nationally representative data. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 1999 to 2004.

Results: 5140 noninstitutionalized adults age 20 to 69 years who had audiometric testing.

  • Hearing impairment was more prevalent among adults with diabetes. Age-adjusted prevalence of low- or mid-frequency hearing impairment of mild or greater severity in the worse ear was 21.3% (95% CI, 15.0% to 27.5%) among 399 adults with diabetes compared with 9.4% (CI, 8.2% to 10.5%) among 4741 adults without diabetes.
  • Similarly, age-adjusted prevalence of high-frequency hearing impairment of mild or greater severity in the worse ear was 54.1% (CI, 45.9% to 62.3%) among those with diabetes compared with 32.0% (CI, 30.5% to 33.5%) among those without diabetes.

Conclusion: Hearing impairment is common in adults with diabetes, and diabetes seems to be an independent risk factor for the condition.


The more likely explanation to this complication is still diabetes related microcirculation abnormality which is seen in other organs affected by this condition. Whether tight control of blood glucose can help prevent the onset and progression of this condition remains to be seen. 

Still the same, good control has been shown to help prevent circulatory problems of the affected organs in the body such as the eyes and the kidneys….and therefore there should be no reason why the same wont hold true to the cochlea.

This study therefore helps us realize that patients with diabetes should probably start screening for hearing impariment so as to avoid exposure to unnecessary factors that can help aggravate the condition like noise pollution, loud music and some drugs that have been shown to cause hearing loss.

Hearing Loss: Another Reason To Aim For Good Control!