Having diabetes and being a smoker is a bad cocktail in relation to the risk of getting an age-related hearing loss, a study finds. Also, diabetics with hypertension have an increased risk of hearing loss.

A Korean study has found that people with diabetes who smoke have an increased risk of an age-related hearing loss (ARHL).

In the study, being male, exposure to occupational noise and diabetes showed a significant relationship with age-related hearing loss. The study also found that smoking when having diabetes had the strongest synergistic effect on the risk of an age-related hearing loss.

Current smokers with diabetes had a significant relationship with age-related hearing loss, whereas ex-smokers with diabetes did not have an increased risk.  Therefore, the researchers write in their study that smokers with diabetes may benefit from the cessation of smoking.

Diabetes and hypertension

The combination of diabetes and hypertension also increased the risk of an age-related hearing loss, but the risk was smaller than that for the combination of diabetes and smoking.

About the study

The study investigated the synergistic effects of risk factors on age-related hearing loss (ARHL) using nationwide cross-sectional data from the 2010‒2013 Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Patients with age-related hearing loss were selected based on their pure-tone audiometry results. Of the 12,570 individuals aged 40–79 years, 2002 (15.9%) had an age-related hearing loss.

The study, “Synergistic effect of smoking on age‑related hearing loss in patients with diabetes”, was published in the journal Scientific Reports.

Sources: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov and the journal Scientific Reports.

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