Hearing loss may result from diabetes

6/19/2008

WASHINGTON According to a new study, hearing loss may be a complication from diabetes, after the researchers found hearing loss to be about twice as common in people with the chronic disease as those who do not have diabetes, as reported by Reuters. Diabetes may cause hearing loss by damaging the nerves and blood vessels of the inner ear, according to the researchers.

The researchers analyzed data from 5,140 adults age 20 to 69 who were given hearing tests. Low- or mid-frequency hearing impairment of mild or greater severity was detected in 21 percent of the 399 people with diabetes and 9 percent of the 4,741 who did not have it. High-frequency hearing impairment of mild or greater severity was present in 54 percent of those with diabetes compared with 32 percent of those without it, the study found.

The differences in hearing between diabetics and non-diabetics occurred among both men and women and in all racial and ethnic groups, education levels and income levels, the researchers said.

“Hearing loss may be an under-recognized complication of diabetes. As diabetes becomes more common, the disease may become a more significant contributor to hearing loss,” researcher Catherine Cowie of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, part of the U.S. National Institutes of Health, said in a statement.

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