Diabetes is known to affect the body in several damaging ways and now a new study finds it could cause hearing loss as well.
Type 2 diabetes is a metabolic disorder that results in excess sugar in the blood, which coats the body’s delicate blood vessels, damaging organs including the eyes, kidneys and heart.
The study of the relationship between diabetes and hearing loss is relatively new, and while an association with hearing impairment has been shown in some studies results are mixed, say researchers at SUNY Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.
However, after reviewing epidemiological studies on the topic, the researchers say they find “compelling evidence” that the disease can damage the auditory system, which is the sensatory system for hearing. Clinicians should include hearing in the tests they perform as part of diabetes management, they urge.
Hearing impairment affects 16.1 percent of adults in the U.S., and two-thirds of adults have significant hearing impairment by age 70. Hearing impairment has been associated with social isolation and depression, cognitive decline and incident dementia, a higher propensity for falls and hospitalizations, and increased mortality.
The study appears in Current Diabetes Reports.
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