The effect of diabetes on sensorineural hearing loss

Otol Neurotol. 2003 May;24(3):382-6. doi: 10.1097/00129492-200305000-00006.


Objective: To identify whether patients with diabetes have a higher incidence of sensorineural hearing loss than the general population and examine whether control of diabetes is related to severity of hearing loss.

Study design: Retrospective database review; complete data mining of electronic medical record from 1989 to present.

Setting: Tertiary referral center.

Patients: Electronic medical records from 53461 nondiabetic age-matched patients and 12575 diabetic patients were reviewed.

Main outcome measures: Presence or absence of diabetes and/or sensorineural hearing loss, serum creatinine, pure tone hearing (dB), speech discrimination (%), serum cholesterol, and triglycerides.

Results: Sensorineural hearing loss was more common in the diabetic patients than in age0matched nondiabetic patients from the same institutions. Poor control of diabetes, as measured by increasing serum creatinine, but not apparent in hemoglobin A1C laboratory data, correlated with worsening hearing in patients with diabetes who had sensorineural hearing loss.

Conclusions: Sensorineural hearing loss was more common in patients with diabetes than in the control nondiabetic patients, and severity of hearing loss seemed to correlate with progression of disease as reflected in serum creatinine. This may have been due to microangiopathic disease in the inner ear.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Audiometry, Pure-Tone / methods
  • Cholesterol, LDL / blood
  • Creatinine / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus / epidemiology*
  • Hearing Loss, Sensorineural / diagnosis
  • Hearing Loss, Sensorineural / epidemiology*
  • Humans
  • Prevalence
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Speech Discrimination Tests
  • Speech Perception / physiology
  • Triglycerides / blood


  • Cholesterol, LDL
  • Triglycerides
  • Creatinine