Glycosylated Hemoglobin Level Is Associated with Hearing Impairment in Older Japanese: The Kurabuchi Study

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To examine the association between glycemic levels (glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c)) and hearing impairment in a general older population.


Community-based prospective longitudinal cohort study.


Kurabuchi Town, Gunma Prefecture, Japan.


Residents (N = 831; 350 men, 481 women) aged 65 and older were examined in 2005 and 2006 and analyzed in a cross-sectional study. Residents without hearing impairment at baseline who participated in audiometric re-examinations 4 years later were analyzed (n = 338).


Hearing impairment was defined as failure to hear a 30-dB signal at 1 kHz and a 40-dB signal at 4 kHz in the better ear in pure-tone audiometric tests.


Mean HbA1c level (National Glycohemoglobin Standardization Program) was 5.8 ± 0.8% (40 mmol/mol). Odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) of hearing impairment associated with HbA1c were estimated using a logistic regression model. In the cross-sectional analysis, HbA1c levels were positively associated with hearing impairment (OR per 1.0% increase in HbA1c = 1.30, 95% CI = 1.00−1.68). This association persisted even after excluding 58 participants with a self-reported history of diagnosed diabetes mellitus. Longitudinal analysis revealed the temporality of the discussed association (OR = 1.52, 95% CI = 1.03−2.23).


The present study provides supportive evidence for a causal link between hyperglycemia and age-related hearing loss. J Am Geriatr Soc 62:1231–1237, 2014.

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