Diabetes and hearing loss

Diabetes has long been tied to loss of vision, however, a new study has shown that those suffering from the disease may also be more than twice as likely to develop hearing loss.

The study, undertaken by Japanese researchers, looked at the results of 13 previous studies. They found that hearing impairment was more than twice as common in those with diabetes. The link remained even when the researchers accounted for age and working in a loud environment, which are both factors which can affect your hearing.

The Japanese researchers have theorised that poor blood sugar management, which can cause damage to blood vessels and nerves throughout the body, may be the cause of this increased risk of hearing loss.

The study cannot prove a cause-and-effect between diabetes and hearing loss, as it is what is called an ‘observational’ study. It can simply show a strong correlation between the disease and hearing impairment, which is enough to encourage further study to be undertaken.

Chika Horikawa, a dietician at Niigata University in Japan who led the analysis, has said that the findings suggest those with diabetes should consider regular hearing tests. “Be proactive. If you notice any hearing loss, tell your doctor about it.” He also explained that doctors rarely ask diabetic patients about hearing loss, instead focussing on weight control and blood sugar levels. “We’re not very good at detecting this during routine office visits,” he said of those unknowingly suffering from hearing loss.

Read more about this study at the USNews website