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Hear Res. 2006 Jan;211(1-2):103-13. Epub 2005 Nov 23.

Characterization of hearing loss in aged type II diabetics.

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  • 1International Center for Hearing and Speech Research, National Technical Institute for the Deaf, Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, NY, USA.

Abstract

Presbycusis - age-related hearing loss - is the number one communicative disorder and a significant chronic medical condition of the aged. Little is known about how type II diabetes, another prevalent age-related medical condition, and presbycusis interact. The present investigation aimed to comprehensively characterize the nature of hearing impairment in aged type II diabetics. Hearing tests measuring both peripheral (cochlea) and central (brainstem and cortex) auditory processing were utilized. The majority of differences between the hearing abilities of the aged diabetics and their age-matched controls were found in measures of inner ear function. For example, large differences were found in pure-tone audiograms, wideband noise and speech reception thresholds, and otoacoustic emissions. The greatest deficits tended to be at low frequencies. In addition, there was a strong tendency for diabetes to affect the right ear more than the left. One possible interpretation is that as one develops presbycusis, the right ear advantage is lost, and this decline is accelerated by diabetes. In contrast, auditory processing tests that measure both peripheral and central processing showed fewer declines between the elderly diabetics and the control group. Consequences of elevated blood sugar levels as possible underlying physiological mechanisms for the hearing loss are discussed.

PMID:
16309862
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC2745069
Free PMC Article

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