Objectives:: Although several studies have investigated the effects of diabetes on hearing loss, the relationship between these two conditions remains unclear. Some studies have suggested that diabetes may cause sensorineural hearing loss, whereas others have failed to find an association. The biggest challenge in investigating the association between diabetes and hearing loss is the presence of confounding variables and the complexity of the auditory system. Our study investigated the association between diabetes and sensorineural hearing loss. We evaluated the influence of time from diabetes diagnosis on this association after controlling for age, gender, and hypertension diagnosis and excluding those subjects with exposure to noise.
Methods:: This cross-sectional study evaluated 901 adult and elderly Brazilian Longitudinal Study of Adult Health (ELSA-Brasil) participants from São Paulo, Brazil who underwent audiometry testing as part of ELSA-Brasil's baseline assessment.
Results:: Hearing thresholds and speech test results were significantly worse in the group with diabetes than in the group without diabetes. However, no significant differences were found between participants with and without diabetes after adjusting for age, gender, and the presence of hypertension. Hearing thresholds were not affected by occupational noise exposure in the groups with and without diabetes. In addition, no association between the duration of diabetes and hearing thresholds was observed after adjusting for age, gender, and hypertension.
Conclusion:: We found no association between the duration of diabetes and worse hearing thresholds after models were adjusted for age, gender, and the presence of hypertension.