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People With Diabetes Face Higher Risk of Hearing Impairment

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People with diabetes should monitor their blood glucose levels for many reasons, among them: protecting their hearing, according to a study article to be published in the January 2013 edition of The Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. Researches noted the findings appears to be independent of aging or extensive exposure to noise.

On a national level, the number of hearing impaired patients doubled between 1995 to 2004, and many of those people also suffered from type 2 diabetes.

“The association of hearing impairment with diabetes is controversial, but it is believed that over time, high blood glucose levels can damage vessels in the stria vascularis and nerves diminishing the ability to hear,” said Chika Horikawa of Niigata University in Japan and lead author of the study, which was a meta-analysis of thirteen previous cross-sectional studies.

Unfortunately, even more health problems may be tied to hearing impairment, such as depression and dementia.

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“Our results propose that diabetic patients be screened for hearing impairment from earlier age compared with non-diabetics, from the viewpoint of prevention of several health problems such as depression and dementia caused by hearing impairment,” Horikawa noted.