Type 2 Diabetes Might Damage Auditory System
There could be a link between type 2 diabetes and hearing impairment, which makes hearing tests a critical part of managing the disease, according to a study published in Current Diabetes Reports.
Previous studies have shown a connection between diabetes and hearing impairment, although comparing the studies to each other can be difficult because of lack of consistency in defining hearing impairment and its associated factors.
"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 age-related hearing impairment may mask the contribution of diabetes to the impairment,” said Elizabeth Helzner, PhD., lead author of the study. “This factor in itself lends weight to the notion that type 2 diabetes can damage hearing."
Researchers admit that discovering the patterns between diabetes and poor hearing is in its infancy stage. They believe long-term studies are needed to determine if diabetic patients are at an increased risk of early-onset hearing loss compared to the general population.
The study also stressed the need to learn whether the advancement of impaired hearing differs amongst patients based upon diabetes status, disease management and other factors that contribute to hearing loss.
Auditory damage impacts over 16 percent of adults in the United States and is associated with depression, social isolation, dementia, increased hospitalization rates and mortality. Researchers believe these stats further showcase the need for hearing tests as part of type 2 diabetes management.