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Endocr Pract. 2012 Jul-Aug;18(4):549-57. doi: 10.4158/EP11389.OR.

Sensorineural hearing loss--a common finding in early-onset type 2 diabetes mellitus.

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  • 1Department of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Nutrición Salvador Zubirán, México City, México.



To evaluate the prevalence and potential associations of hearing impairment in patients 30 to 50 years old with diabetes diagnosed before age 40 years-early-onset type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM).


The study cohorts consisted of 46 consecutive patients with early-onset T2DM and 47 age-matched control subjects with rheumatoid arthritis. All study subjects completed clinical, serologic, and auditory assessments.


The patients with T2DM had a mean age of 42 ± 6 years and a mean disease duration of 11 ± 6 years. Microalbuminuria was present in 26.1%, proliferative retinopathy in 26.1%, and symptomatic peripheral neuropathy in 23.9%. The prevalence of unilateral or bilateral hearing loss was significantly higher in the patients with T2DM than in the patients with rheumatoid arthritis (21.7% versus 6.4%, respectively; P = .01). Most cases of hearing loss were mild and involved high or acute tones. After multivariate analysis with adjustment for age, there was a significant association between hearing loss and hemoglobin A1c (odds ratio, 1.3; 95% confidence interval, 1.02 to 1.81; P = .035). In the patients with T2DM, the lengthening of the brainstem response was not significantly increased; however, the wave morphologic features were abnormal and the reproducibility was poor in both ears in 11 patients (24%).


Patients with early-onset T2DM and poor glycemic control have an increased prevalence of subclinical hearing loss and impaired auditory brainstem responses. Hearing impairment may be an underrecognized complication of diabetes.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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