Background and aims: Auditory dysfunctions in diabetes are known but are difficult to identify. Role of clinical tests and routine audiological tools are still to be established in early detection of diabetes-related auditory complication. The study aims to establish a link between diabetes and auditory dysfunction and assess the role of clinical examination and audiological investigations as a sensitive indicator of auditory dysfunctions in diabetics.
Material and Methods: The auditory functions of 100 diabetic patients and 100 non-diabetics were assessed by clinical otological examination including free-field hearing and pure tone audiometry (PTA) in this descriptive study. The data for diabetic and non-diabetic groups and effect of age on auditory functions were analyzed with suitable statistical tests using SPSS 2.0 software with an error margin of 10%.
Results: The demographical variables were comparable in both groups. The results showed a decline in free field hearing, which are furthur adversely affected by duration of diabetes and patient’s age. Overall pure tone thresholds were not significantly higher in diabetics, however the thresholds were higher in diabetics in older age groups. The hearing loss appears at an early age in diabetics but gradually becomes indistinguishable from age-related hearing loss.
Conclusions: The auditory dysfunction can be linked to diabetes. It is usually not detectable at earliest stages with routine clinical and audiological tests but the clinical tests and pure tone audiometry can have a utility in monitoring the auditory dysfunction.