Washington: Being one of the cruellest of diseases, diabetes not only shortens life expectancy, but it also seriously compromises quality of life in the process.
Now, a review of studies of possible linkages between type 2 diabetes and hearing impairment concluded that there is compelling evidence that diabetes can damage the auditory system, and that clinicians should include hearing testing in managing type 2 diabetes.
Researcher Elizabeth Helzner from the SUNY Downstate Medical Center said, "An association between diabetes and hearing impairment in human subjects has been shown in many, but not all, studies. Direct comparison of these studies is complicated due to a lack of consistency in defining hearing impairment and other factors."
Helzner added, "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. This factor in itself lends weight to the notion that type 2 diabetes can damage hearing."
Dr. Helzner and her co-author note that well-designed longitudinal studies are necessary in order to explore whether patients with diabetes are at increased risk of early-onset hearing impairment, and 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.
The survey is published in the journal, Current Diabetes Reports.