FRIDAY, Feb. 3 (HealthDay News) -- Diabetes is associated with
hearing loss in women, especially if the blood sugar disease isn't
well-controlled, new research indicates.
The study, done by researchers at Henry Ford Hospital in
Detroit, examined the medical records of 990 men and women who had
hearing tests between 2000 and 2008. Patients with diabetes were
divided into two groups: well-controlled and poorly controlled.
Among women aged 60 to 75, hearing loss was 14 percent worse
even in well-controlled diabetics compared to those without
diabetes. That is not a clinically significant loss, noted study
author Dr. Kathleen Yaremchuk, chairwoman of the department of
otolaryngology at the Henry Ford Healthcare System in Detroit.
"An individual might not notice it," Yaremchuk said.
On the other hand, poorly controlled diabetics' hearing was 28
percent worse than the non-diabetic group's hearing.
Younger women who had diabetes, well-managed or not, were more
likely to have hearing loss than those unaffected by the illness,
the study found.
Diabetes is known to affect the eyes, kidneys and other organs,
Yaremchuk said. "Our study shows it can affect hearing as
In the study, presented recently at the Triological Society's
annual meeting in Miami Beach, Fla., there was no link between
hearing loss among men and diabetes, whether it was well-managed or
not. Men are more likely in general to suffer from hearing loss
than women, so the prevalence of the condition among males may mask
diabetes' effect, the study suggested.
Men are exposed to more environmental causes of hearing loss,
such as loud noise, either in the workplace or during leisure
activities, such as attending large sporting events, explained
Managing diabetes properly should help prevent hearing loss or
keep it from getting worse, Yaremchuk said.
What's unknown is if better management of diabetes can reverse
hearing loss that's already occurred.
"We do not know if losing weight and improving control of diabetes will reverse the hearing loss that is seen. However, it will stop progression of the hearing loss," she said.
Recommendations call for diabetics' to have their vision checked
every year, said Dr. Spyros Mezitis, a clinical endocrinologist at
Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.
This latest finding suggests diabetics may also need to have
their hearing tested, Mezitis said.
"This study will help make doctors more aware to ask about hearing, particularly in women between 60 and 75," said Mezitis, also an assistant professor of clinical medicine at New York Presbyterian Hospital-Cornell Medical Center.
About 26 million Americans have diabetes, mostly type 2, which
is associated with obesity.
Because this study was presented at a medical meeting, the
conclusions should be viewed as preliminary until published in a
To learn more about diabetes, visit
U.S. National Institutes of Health.
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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