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Diabetes could cause hearing problems

People with uncontrolled diabetes may be at greater risk of losing their hearing, researchers have warned.
Elevated blood sugar levels over a prolonged period can affect eyesight and even lead to blindness. But according to Chika Horikawa and colleagues from Niigata University in Japa, hearing problems are also far more common in diabetics than those without the metabolic condition.
After taking into account factors such as age, gender and noisy environments, their meta-analysis study found that people with diabetes had “more than two times higher prevalence of hearing impairment” than their healthy, non-diabetic counterparts.
Lead author Horikawa said it is thought that over time, high blood glucose levels can “damage vessels in the stria vascularis and nerves diminishing the ability to hear.
“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,” he added.
The findings, which are due to appear in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, support a separate US-based study published earlier this year, which found that the risk of hearing loss is higher for individuals with diabetes – particularly women – who are unable to control their condition with medication .

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