Diabetes and risk of hearing impairment in adults: a meta-analysis

J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2013 Jan;98(1):51-8. doi: 10.1210/jc.2012-2119. Epub 2012 Nov 12.


Context: Recently, several studies have investigated the relationship between diabetes and hearing impairment, but results were inconsistent.

Objective: Our objective was to compare the prevalence of hearing impairment between diabetic and nondiabetic adults.

Data sources: We performed a systematic literature search using MEDLINE (1950 to May 30, 2011) and EMBASE (1974 to May 30, 2011).

Study selection: Cross-sectional studies were included if data on numbers of hearing-impaired and non-hearing-impaired cases with diabetes were presented. Hearing impairment was limited to that assessed by pure-tone audiometry that included at least 2 kHz of frequency range and was defined as progressive, chronic, sensorineural, or without specified cause.

Data extraction: Two authors independently extracted relevant data. Odd ratios (ORs) of hearing impairment related to diabetes calculated in each study were pooled with the random-effects model.

Data synthesis: Data were obtained from 13 eligible studies (20,194 participants and 7,377 cases). Overall pooled OR (95% confidence interval) of hearing impairment for diabetic participants compared with nondiabetic participants was 2.15 (1.72-2.68). OR was higher in younger participants (mean age, ≤60 yr) than in those over 60 yr among which the OR remained significant (2.61 and 1.58, P = 0.008). The strength of the association between diabetes and prevalence of hearing impairment was not significantly influenced by whether participants were matched for age and gender (P = 0.68) or whether participants chronically exposed to noisy environments were excluded (P = 0.19).

Conclusions: Current meta-analysis suggests that the higher prevalence of hearing impairment in diabetic patients compared with nondiabetic patients was consistent regardless of age.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age of Onset
  • Algorithms
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diabetes Complications / epidemiology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus / epidemiology*
  • Hearing Loss / epidemiology*
  • Hearing Loss / etiology*
  • Humans
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors