Japanese scientists have studied the relationship between diabetes and the prevalence of hearing loss.
Combining the results of 13 studies involving more than 20,000 people from the US, Asia, Australia and Brazil, all but one study found an association between diabetes and hearing problems.
The findings show that impaired hearing is twice as common among people with diabetes compared with those without diabetes.
Furthermore, the study also reveals that younger diabetics are at a higher risk than older adults.
Blood sugar control
The study determines that poor blood sugar control might explain why people with diabetes have more hearing problems — and therefore that it is not just due to old age.
Nevertheless, it is still unknown whether better control of your blood sugar will curb any risk of hearing loss.
According to Chika Horikawa, Niigate University Faculty of Medicine, who led the study, neither age nor exposure to a noisy workplace can explain the connection between diabetes and hearing loss and Horikawa says that there can be other explanations than diabetes itself.
Horikawa points to certain medications that many diabetics take, particularly blood pressure-lowering diuretics, which can affect hearing and cause hearing problems.
The Japanese study shows a correlation between diabetes and hearing problems. However, it is an observational association and it does not prove a cause-and-effect relationship between diabetics and non-diabetics.
Further- and additional studies are therefore needed to clarify the relationship between diabetes and the prevalence of hearing impairment.
The Japanese study was published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.