Risk Factors for Hearing Impairment among Adults with Diabetes: The Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos (HCHS/SOL)

J Clin Transl Endocrinol. 2016 Dec:6:15-22. doi: 10.1016/j.jcte.2016.09.001.


Aim: The aim was to examine risk factors for hearing impairment among Hispanic/Latino adults with diabetes.

Methods: Findings are based on 3384 participants aged 18-76 years with diagnosed or previously undetected diabetes who completed audiometric testing as part of the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos. We defined hearing impairment as the pure-tone average (PTA) >25 decibels hearing level [dB HL] of pure-tone thresholds at high frequencies (3000, 4000, 6000, and 8000 Hz) in the worse ear and defined a second hearing impairment outcome with the additional requirement of PTA >25 dB HL of low/mid-frequency (500, 1000, and 2000 Hz) thresholds in the worse ear. We identified independent associations using logistic regression.

Results: Controlling for age and Hispanic/Latino background, prevalence ratios for hearing impairment in the high plus low/mid frequencies were 1.35 (95% CI 1.07, 1.71) for current smoking, 1.64 (1.14, 2.38) for alcohol consumption (≥ 14 drinks/week for men or ≥ 7 drinks/week for women), and 1.29 (1.06, 1.56) for triglycerides ≥ 150 mg/dL. For high-frequency only hearing impairment, the prevalence ratio for estimated glomerular filtration rate 30-59 mL/min/1.73m2 was 1.23 (1.03, 1.47) adjusted for age and sex. People with family income less than $20,000 had almost twice the prevalence of hearing impairment (PR=1.93 (1.34, 2.78)) as people with income over $40,000.

Conclusions: Current smoking, alcohol consumption, high triglycerides, and chronic kidney disease are potentially preventable correlates of hearing impairment for persons with diabetes. Low income is a marker of increased likelihood of hearing impairment.

Keywords: cardiovascular disease; diabetes; diabetic complications; glycemic control; hearing impairment.