, Volume 62, Issue 2, pp 281–285 | Cite as

Type 2 diabetes and the risk of incident hearing loss

  • Shruti GuptaEmail author
  • Roland D. Eavey
  • Molin Wang
  • Sharon G. Curhan
  • Gary C. Curhan
Short Communication



Type 2 diabetes mellitus has been implicated as a risk factor for hearing loss, with possible mechanisms including microvascular disease, acoustic neuropathy or oxidative stress. A few small studies have examined the longitudinal association between type 2 diabetes and hearing loss, but larger studies are needed. Our objective was to examine whether type 2 diabetes (including diabetes duration) is associated with incident hearing loss in two prospective cohorts: Nurses’ Health Studies (NHS) I and II.


We conducted a longitudinal study of 139,909 women to examine the relationship between type 2 diabetes and the risk of self-reported incident hearing loss. A physician-diagnosis of diabetes was ascertained from biennial questionnaires. The primary outcome was hearing loss reported as moderate or worse in severity (categorised as a ‘moderate or severe’ hearing problem, or ‘moderate hearing trouble or deaf’) on questionnaires administered in 2012 in NHS I and 2009 or 2013 in NHS II. Cox proportional hazards regression was used to adjust for potential confounders.


During >2.4 million person-years of follow-up, 664 cases of moderate or worse hearing loss were reported among those with type 2 diabetes and 10,022 cases among those without type 2 diabetes. Compared with women who did not have type 2 diabetes, those with type 2 diabetes were at higher risk for incident moderate or worse hearing loss (pooled multivariable-adjusted HR 1.16 [95% CI 1.07, 1.27]). Participants who had type 2 diabetes for ≥8 years had a higher risk of moderate or worse hearing loss compared with those without type 2 diabetes (pooled multivariable-adjusted HR 1.24 [95% CI 1.10, 1.40]).


In this large longitudinal study, type 2 diabetes was associated with a modestly higher risk of moderate or worse hearing loss. Furthermore, longer duration diabetes was associated with a higher risk of moderate or worse hearing loss.


Hearing loss Longitudinal Nurses’ Health Study Type 2 diabetes 



Alternate Mediterranean diet


Fasting plasma glucose


Nurses’ Health Study



We thank the participants of NHS I and NHS II for their continuing contributions.

Contribution statement

All authors contributed to this work. All authors made substantial contributions to the conception and design, acquisition of data, or analysis and interpretation of data. All authors participated in drafting the article and revising it critically for important intellectual content. All authors give their final approval for this version of the manuscript to be published. GC is responsible for the integrity of the work as a whole.


SG receives NIH funding from 1F32DC017342. GC receives grant support from Shoebox Audiometry, and from the following NIH grants: DK091417 and DC010811. The study sponsors were not involved in the design of the study; the collection, analysis, and interpretation of data; writing the report; or the decision to submit the report for publication. SC, RE, and MW have no relevant financial disclosures.

The Nurses’ Health Study is supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH grants UM1 CA186107, P01 CA87969, R01 CA49449, R01 HL034594, and R01 HL088521). NHS II is supported by NIH grants UM1 CA176726 and R01 CA67262.

Duality of interest

GC received grant support from Shoebox Audiometry. All other authors declare that there is no duality of interest associated with this manuscript.

Supplementary material

125_2018_4766_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (378 kb)
ESM Tables (PDF 378 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Channing Division of Network Medicine, Department of MedicineBrigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA
  2. 2.Renal Division, Department of MedicineBrigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA
  3. 3.Department of OtolaryngologyVanderbilt Bill Wilkerson Center for Otolaryngology and Communication ServicesNashvilleUSA
  4. 4.Department of EpidemiologyHarvard TH Chan School of Public HealthBostonUSA
  5. 5.Harvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA

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