Sensorineural hearing loss is a common finding in early onset type 2 diabetes

Endocrine Practice, 04/16/2012

Lerman–Garber I et al. – Patients with early onset type 2 diabetes (T2DM) and poor glycemic control have an increased prevalence of subclinical hearing loss and impaired auditory brainstem responses. Hearing impairment may be an under–recognized complication of diabetes.


  • Forty-six consecutive patients with early onset type 2 diabetes (T2DM) and forty-seven age-matched controls with rheumatoid arthritis were included.
  • All subjects completed clinical, serologic and auditory assessments.


  • Patients with T2DM had a mean age of 42±6 years and mean disease duration of 11±6 years.
  • Microalbuminuria was present in 26.1%, symptomatic peripheral neuropathy in 23.9%, and proliferative retinopathy in 26.1%.
  • The prevalence of unilateral or bilateral hearing loss was significantly higher in diabetic rather than in RA patients (21.7% vs. 6.4%, p=0.01).
  • Most cases were mild and involved high or acute tones.
  • After multivariate analysis adjusting for age, there was a significant association between hearing loss and HbA1c (OR=1.3, IC95% 1.02-1.81, p=0.035).
  • In diabetic patients the lengthening of the brainstem response was not significantly increased; however, the wave morphology was abnormal and/or the reproducibility was poor in 28% of the patients.

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