Study: Diabetes linked to hearing loss

Updated 04 December 2012
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Study: Diabetes linked to hearing loss

DIABETES has already been tied to an increased risk of kidney and cardiovascular troubles, nerve damage and vision loss, and now a Japanese study finds diabetics to be more than twice as likely as those without the disease to have hearing impairment.
In a review of past research on the issue, published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, scientists found that younger diabetics were at even higher risk than older adults, though they could not explain why.
“Current meta-analysis suggests that the higher prevalence of hearing impairment in diabetic patients compared with nondiabetic patients was consistent regardless of age,” wrote lead researcher Chika Horikawa, at Niigata University Faculty of Medicine, and colleagues.
It’s not the first time researchers have found a link between diabetes and hearing loss. In 2008, researchers from the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) saw similar patterns in a sample of more than 11,000 people, with people with diabetes twice as likely to have hearing loss as those without.
It’s thought that high blood sugar levels brought on by diabetes may lead to hearing loss by damaging blood vessels in the ears, said Horikawa.
Horikawa and colleagues collected information from 13 previous studies examining the link between diabetes and hearing loss and published between 1977 and 2011. Together, the data covered 7,377 diabetes and 12,817 people without the condition.
Overall, Horikawa’s team found that diabetics were 2.15 times as likely as people without the disease to have hearing loss. But when the results were broken down by age, people under 60 had 2.61 times the risk while people over 60 hand 1.58 times higher risk.
Some experts caution that this kind of study does not prove that diabetes is directly responsible for the greater hearing loss rates.
“It doesn’t definitively answer the question, but it continues to raise an important point that patients might ask about,” said Steven Smith, a diabetes specialist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.
The researchers note that future studies that take more factors into account, such as age and noisy environment, are needed to clarify the link between diabetes and hearing loss.
Still, Horikawa told Reuters Health in an e-mail, people should recognize that diabetics may be at risk for hearing loss based on their results.
“Furthermore, these results propose that diabetic patients are screened for hearing impairment from (an) earlier age compared with non-diabetics,” said Horikawa, adding that hearing loss has also been linked to an increased risk of depression and dementia.


WHO: Alcohol abuse kills 3 million a year, most of them men

The logo of the World Health Organization (WHO) is pictured on the facade of the WHO headquarters on October 24, 2017 in Geneva. (AFP)
Updated 22 September 2018
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WHO: Alcohol abuse kills 3 million a year, most of them men

  • Of all deaths attributable to alcohol, 28 percent were due to injuries, such as traffic accidents and interpersonal violence
  • An estimated 2.3 billion people worldwide drink alcohol, with average daily consumption of people at 33 grams of pure alcohol a day

GENEVA: More than 3 million people died in 2016 due to drinking too much alcohol, meaning one in 20 deaths worldwide was linked to harmful drinking, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday.
More than three quarters of these deaths were among men, the UN health agency said. Despite evidence of the health risks it carries, global consumption of alcohol is predicted to rise in the next 10 years.
“It’s time to step up action to prevent this serious threat to the development of healthy societies,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said.
In its “Global status report on alcohol and health 2018,” the WHO said that globally, an estimated 237 million men and 46 million women are problem drinkers or alcohol abusers. The highest prevalence is in Europe and the Americas, and alcohol-use disorders are more common in wealthier countries.
Of all deaths attributable to alcohol, 28 percent were due to injuries, such as traffic accidents and interpersonal violence. Another 21 percent were due to digestive disorders, and 19 percent due to cardiovascular diseases such as heart attacks and strokes.
An estimated 2.3 billion people worldwide drink alcohol, with average daily consumption of people at 33 grams of pure alcohol a day. This is roughly equivalent to two 150 ml glasses of wine, a large (750 ml) bottle of beer or two 40 ml shots of spirits.
Europe has the highest per person alcohol consumption in the world, even though it has dropped by around 10 percent since 2010. Current trends point to a global rise in per capita consumption in the next 10 years, the report said, particularly in Southeast Asia, the Western Pacific and the Americas.
“All countries can do much more to reduce the health and social costs of the harmful use of alcohol,” said Vladimir Poznyak, of the WHO’s substance abuse unit. He said proven, cost-effective steps included raising alcohol taxes, restricting advertising and limiting easy access to alcohol.
Worldwide, 45 percent of total alcohol consumed is in the form of spirits. Beer is the second most popular, accounting for 34 percent of consumption, followed by wine at 12 percent.
The report found that almost all countries have alcohol excise taxes, but fewer than half of them use other pricing strategies such as banning below-cost sales or bulk buy discounts.