Women with diabetes are at an increased risk of suffering from age-related hearing loss, especially if the metabolic disorder is not well controlled with medication.
According to the study from Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, women between the ages of 60 and 75 with well-controlled diabetes had better hearing than women with poorly controlled diabetes, with similar hearing levels to those of non-diabetic women of the same age.
The study also shows significantly worse hearing in all women younger than 60 with diabetes, even if it is well controlled.
Men, however, had worse hearing loss across the board compared to women in the study, regardless of their age or whether or not they had diabetes.
"A certain degree of hearing loss is a normal part of the aging process for all of us, but it is often accelerated in patients with diabetes, especially if blood-glucose levels are not being controlled with medication and diet," Derek J. Handzo, D.O., with the Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at Henry Ford said.
"Our study really points to importance of patients controlling their diabetes, especially as they age, based on the impact it may have on hearing loss."
American Diabetes Association said that nearly 26 million people in the U.S. have diabetes, and another 34.5 million have some degree of hearing loss.
Signs of hearing loss include difficulty hearing background noises or hearing conversations in large groups, as well as regularly needing to turn up the volume on a radio or TV.
The study was presented on Jan 26 in Miami Beach at the annual Triological Society's Combined Sections Meeting.