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Diabetes-related changes in hearing

Authors

  • Donald F. Austin MD, MPH,

    1. VA Rehabilitation Research and Development Service, National Center for Rehabilitative Auditory Research, Portland VA Medical Center, Oregon, U.S.A
    2. Department of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Oregon Health and Science University School of Medicine, Portland, Oregon, U.S.A
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  • Dawn Konrad-Martin PhD,

    Corresponding author
    1. VA Rehabilitation Research and Development Service, National Center for Rehabilitative Auditory Research, Portland VA Medical Center, Oregon, U.S.A
    2. Department of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, Oregon Health and Science University School of Medicine, Portland, Oregon, U.S.A
    • VA RR&D, National Center for Rehabilitative Auditory Research, Portland VA Medical Center, 3710 SW US Veterans Hospital Road. Portland, OR 97239
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  • Susan Griest MPH,

    1. VA Rehabilitation Research and Development Service, National Center for Rehabilitative Auditory Research, Portland VA Medical Center, Oregon, U.S.A
    2. Department of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, Oregon Health and Science University School of Medicine, Portland, Oregon, U.S.A
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  • Garnett P. McMillan PhD,

    1. VA Rehabilitation Research and Development Service, National Center for Rehabilitative Auditory Research, Portland VA Medical Center, Oregon, U.S.A
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  • Daniel McDermott MS,

    1. VA Rehabilitation Research and Development Service, National Center for Rehabilitative Auditory Research, Portland VA Medical Center, Oregon, U.S.A
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  • Stephen Fausti PhD

    1. VA Rehabilitation Research and Development Service, National Center for Rehabilitative Auditory Research, Portland VA Medical Center, Oregon, U.S.A
    2. Department of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, Oregon Health and Science University School of Medicine, Portland, Oregon, U.S.A
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  • Presented in part at the Triological Society Southern and Middle Combined Sections Meeting, Bonita Springs, Florida, U.S.A, January 8–11, 2009.

Abstract

Objectives/Hypothesis:

Determine the effects on hearing of diabetes mellitus (DM) severity.

Study Design:

We conducted a cross-sectional study among Veterans to investigate the relationship of diabetes severity and hearing in randomly selected subjects with (165) and without (137) DM and who had no more than a moderate hearing loss.

Methods:

Subjects were classified by three age tertiles (<50, 50–56, and 57+ years). Diabetes severity was classified as insulin-dependent (IDDM), noninsulin-dependent (NIDDM), or no DM. Other DM measures included concurrent serum glucose, serum HbA1c, duration of disease, and several measures of DM-related complications. Pure-tone thresholds were measured in both ears of each subject at frequencies from 250 Hz through 14,000 Hz. Outcome measures were adjusted for age and frequency and analyzed for differences between subject groups using analysis of variance. Contrasts of the mean NIDDM and IDDM thresholds at each frequency to the DM group, and controlled for the effects of frequency, age, and interactions were modeled.

Results:

There was greater hearing loss in younger tertile DM subjects compared to those without DM. Significant hearing differences were at all frequencies for NIDDM subjects, but for IDDM subjects, differences were at 1,000 Hz and below, and 10,000 Hz and above. Over age 50 years, there were significant associations between hearing at low frequencies and IDDM only. Self-report of prior noise exposure did not explain observed differences.

Conclusions:

Diabetes is associated with an increased risk of hearing loss, and this difference is manifest particularly in adults <50 years old. Laryngoscope, 2009

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