Hearing Impairment and Diabetes in Veterans

Hearing Impairment and Diabetes in Veterans

August 18, 2015 In the News

Konrad-Martin et al (2015) report that diabetes mellitus (DM) is a metabolic syndrome affecting one-twelfth of all American adults. Of note, they report that Type 2 DM affects 1 of every 4 to 5 v veterans receiving care at the Veterans Health Administration. (Note that Type 1 DM is less common, Type 2 is the more common and accounts for some 90-95 percent of all diabetes in U.S. adults. See Am Fam Physician. 2010 81(7):863-870.) The authors note that multiple reports suggest hearing loss is (very likely) a disabling complication of DM.  

Konrad-Martin et al evaluated data from 130 veterans with Type 2 DM. They report that changes to the auditory system (secondary to DM) extend beyond threshold elevations as shown by auditory brainstem response (ABR) and as indicated by “higher level central and cognitive impairment….” They also report that poorly controlled DM negatively impacts thresholds up to and including 2000 Hz and negatively impacts hearing related quality of life. They state that “results provide evidence that the observed hearing dysfunction in Type 2 diabetes might be prevented or delayed through tight metabolic control.”  Konrad-Martin and colleagues report that veterans with uncontrolled diabetes were almost three times as likely to report their hearing “was associated with difficulty adapting to various activities of daily life….”

For More Information, References, and Recommendations

Konrad-Martin D, Reavis KM, Austin D, Reed N, Gordon J, McDermott D, Dille MF. (2015) Hearing Impairment in Relation to Severity of Diabetes in a Veteran Cohort. Ear & Hearing 36(4):381-394.

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