(MENAFN Press) (EMAILWIRE.COM, December 23, 2012 ) Lawrenceville, GA --
The review was published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism. Scientists stated that younger diabetics were at even higher risk than their adult counterparts. The explanation to why this is the case is not yet known.
"Current meta-analysis suggests that the higher prevalence of hearing impairment in diabetic patients compared with nondiabetic patients was consistent regardless of age," wrote lead researcher Chika Horikawa, at Niigata University Faculty of Medicine, and colleagues.
The research's findings are not entirely new. The U.S. National Institute of Health (NIH) saw similar correlation in 2008 when it held a study of 11,000 individuals. It noted similar numbers.
The likely reason for the correlation is high blood sugar levels, which can be brought on by diabetes and can damage blood vessels in the ears, according to Horikawa.
Horikawa's research group discovered that those without diabetes had hearing loss only about 43% as often as those with the disease. When broken down by age, those under 60 who had diabetes were 261% more likely to have some form of hearing loss. People over 60 were 158% more likely.
The study was noted to not prove a direct causal relationship between the diseases and hearing loss, caution certain experts. "It doesn't definitively answer the question, but it continues to raise an important point that patients might ask about," said Steven Smith, a diabetes specialist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.
The Japanese research team noted that further studies will make sure to attempt in ruling out other reasons for the possible correlation.
Horikawa did urge Reuters Health, via email, that people need to recognize that there is a likely causal correlation.
"Furthermore, these results propose that diabetic patients are screened for hearing impairment from (an) earlier age compared with non-diabetics," said Horikawa, adding that hearing loss has also been linked to an increased risk of depression and dementia.