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Diabetics more likely to suffer hearing loss

Published On: Oct 24 2011 02:49:25 PM CDT
Updated On: Aug 31 2011 11:07:30 AM CDT
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(NewsUSA) - A new study published by the Annals of Internal Medicine suggests that diabetics are susceptible not only to vision problems, but to hearing problems as well.

"For years, physicians who treat people with diabetes have regularly ensured that their patients receive regular vision check-ups," said Dr. William Luxford, BHI Board member and an Otolaryngologist at the House Ear Clinic in Los Angeles. "This important study underscores the need for physicians now to encourage each of their patients to get their hearing checked as well."

In the study, National Institutes of Health (NIH) researchers analyzed data from hearing tests administered to 5,140 participants between 1999 and 2004 in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). Their findings? Patients with diabetes are more than twice as likely to suffer hearing loss than non-diabetics. More than 40 percent of the patients who participated in the study had some hearing damage.

"People with diabetes should ask their doctors to check their hearing," said Sergei Kochkin, Ph.D., executive director of the Better Hearing Institute (BHI). "A hearing check can be invaluable in identifying diabetic patients with potential hearing loss, and giving them an opportunity to receive the treatment they need."

Studies conducted by BHI, a not-for-profit educational organization whose mission is to educate the public about hearing loss treatment and prevention, show that people with untreated hearing loss experience a lower quality of life than people with normal hearing or people who use hearing aids.

The Better Hearing Institute has designed a "Quick Hearing Check" to help people quickly assess whether they have a hearing loss requiring a comprehensive hearing test by a hearing professional. The quick check is available online at www.hearingcheck.org.