A systematic review of literature on diabetes, its potential impacts on hearing loss, and a discussion of the clinical implications.
By Emily Urry, PhD and Elizabeth Stewart, AuD, PhD
Across a lifespan, an individual’s hearing capacity is influenced by genetic, biological, psychosocial, and environmental factors. These factors can either lead to hearing loss or protect against it.1 The link between diabetes and hearing capacity hit the headlines in recent years due to the American Diabetes Association (ADA)2 and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recognizing diabetes as a risk factor for hearing loss. Indeed, as per ADA’s website:
“..living with diabetes, you are twice as likely to experience hearing loss.”
However, in academia, the association between diabetes and hearing loss remains somewhat controversial. Study findings are often weakened by the use of self reported outcome measures or an incomplete collection of medical history (e.g., noise exposure, medication with ototoxic properties) and confounding factors such as age, sex, duration of diabetes, and smoking.