Association of NIDDM and Hearing Loss

  1. Terry L Wiley, PHD
  1. Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, University of Wisconsin Madison, Wisconsin
  2. Department of Communicative Disorders, University of Wisconsin Madison, Wisconsin
  1. Address correspondence and reprint requests to Dayna S. Dalton, MS, Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 610 North Walnut St., 460 WARF, Madison, WI 53705-2397. E-mail: dalton{at}epi.ophth.wisc.edu.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE To evaluate the association of NIDDM with hearing loss in a large population-based study.

RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS Data from population-based longitudinal studies of aging conducted in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, were used in these analyses. Hearing thresholds were determined by pure-tone air- and bone-conduction audiometry performed by trained technicians following American Speech-Language-Hearing Association specifications. Hearing loss was defined as the pure-tone average of the frequencies 500, 1,000, 2,000, and 4,000 Hz > 25 decibels hearing level in the worse ear. Diabetes status was determined by self-report of physician-diagnosed diabetes or by elevated glucose or glycated hemoglobin levels at examination.

RESULTS Of 3,571 study participants, 344 were classified as having NIDDM. Subjects with NIDDM were more likely to have a hearing loss than were subjects without diabetes (59 vs. 44%). After results were adjusted for age, this difference was not statistically significant. After individuals with hearing loss patterns inconsistent with presbycusis were excluded, there was an association between NIDDM and hearing loss when controlling for potential confounders (odds ratio [OR] 1.41, 95% CI 1.05–1.88). There was no association between duration of diabetes or glycemic control and hearing loss. Individuals with NIDDM and nephropathy were more likely to have a hearing loss than were those with NIDDM but no nephropathy (OR 2.28, 95% CI 1.04–5.00).

CONCLUSIONS These data are suggestive of a weak association between NIDDM and hearing loss.

  • Received July 7, 1997.
  • Revision received May 11, 1998.
  • Accepted May 11, 1998.
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