Women with diabetes may experience more hearing difficulties

Woman at risk with diabetes

New US research has shown that women with diabetes may experience more hearing difficulties as they get older, particularly if their diabetes is not well controlled.

Doctors from the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit discovered that women aged between 60 and 75 years, who had their diabetes well managed with medication and diet, had better hearing than women with poorly controlled diabetes. In fact their hearing levels were same the same as women of similar age who did not have diabetes.

The study also revealed that hearing loss was more pronounced in diabetic women younger than 60 years of age, even if they had their condition well under control.

However, the research team found that men had a greater degree of hearing loss compared to women, irrespective of their age or whether they had this chronic disease or not.

“A certain degree of hearing loss is a normal part of the aging process for all of us, but it is often accelerated in patients with diabetes, especially if blood-glucose levels are not being controlled with medication and diet,” said Dr Derek Handzo, one of the research leaders at Henry Ford’s Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery.

He added: “Our study really points to importance of patients controlling their diabetes, especially as they age, based on the impact it may have on hearing loss.”

The number of people with diabetes in Ireland is growing rapidly. At present there are arlound 200,000 people with the condition with approximately 30,000 of these undiagnosed.

One in six adults suffers from adult-onset hearing loss in Europe, according to recent statistics released by the World Health Organization.

The study was presented recently in Miami at the annual Triological Society’s Combined Sections Meeting.

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