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Study Finds Type 2 Diabetes Can Cause Hearing Loss

A recent review of studies exploring the link between type 2 diabetes and hearing loss has concluded that there is compelling evidence that type 2 diabetes can harm the auditory system.1 The study, conducted by researchers at SUNY Downstate Medical Center, called for clinicians to include hearing testing as part of the management of type 2 diabetes.

Many studies conducted on human subjects have concluded that there is an association between diabetes and hearing loss. This association is stronger in studies that included younger participants, possibly because the hearing impairment in older participants can be attributed to other age-related causes thereby making it difficult to ascertain diabetes’ contribution to hearing loss. However, authors of this study have pointed out that this lends more credence to the role of diabetes in causing hearing loss.

Authors of the study noted that research regarding the connection between hearing impairment and diabetes is quite new. More studies need to be conducted in order to find out if people living with diabetes are at an increased risk of experiencing early-onset hearing loss, as well as the role diabetes management and status play in the progression of hearing loss.

According to American Diabetes Association, some form of hearing impairment is suffered by about 34 million people in the US.2 It has been associated with depression, decline in cognitive function, higher rate of falls, hospitalizations and fatality. If you have diabetes and are concerned about your hearing, please contact your health care provider.

The study findings were published in the journal, Current Diabetes Reports under the title “Type 2 Diabetes and Hearing Impairment.”

  1. Helzner E, Contrera K. Type 2 Diabetes and Hearing Impairment. Current Diabetes Reports January 2015 16:3, 1534-4827
  2. Diabetes and Hearing Loss. American Diabetes Association. Published June 10, 2014. Accessed April 26, 2016.