Diabetics were twice as likely as those without the illness to lose their hearing, according to a study by Japanese researchers presented yesterday at the American Diabetes Association’s annual meeting inSan Diego.
Diabetes patients, already at risk of heart disease and stroke, also may be threatened with hearing loss from the disease, according to ananalysis of 11 studies.
The findings add support to previous studies that have tied diabetes to hearing loss, and should prompt doctors to screen diabetic patients for the condition as routinely as they screen for eye and kidney problems, said Spyros Mezitis, an endocrinologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York. It’s unknown why hearing loss is more common among diabetics, though some researchers believe that nerve damage or vascular disease may be the cause, he said.
“Diabetes can damage the blood vessels and the nerves,” Mezitis, who was not a researcher on the study, said in a June 21 telephone interview. “Small blood vessels and nerves exist in the ears. If not enough blood can get to the ear canal, then hearing loss could occur.”
About 26 million U.S. children and adults have diabetes and about 34.5 million Americans have some type of hearing loss, according to the diabetes association Web site.
A 2008 National Institutes of Health study showed that adult diabetics were twice as likely as those without the disease to have hearing loss. It also found that those with prediabetes had a 30 percent higher rate of hearing loss than those with normal blood sugar levels.
The researchers analyzed 11 studies that involved 6,725 people with hearing impairment of whom 1,069 had diabetes, and 21,734 non-hearing impaired people of whom 2,319 had diabetes.
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Source Bloomberg: By Nicole Ostrow – Jun 24, 2011 10:00 PM GMT+0100