OBJECTIVE: Diabetes is the most common glucose level dependent metabolic disorder and studies have shown that hearing impairment can be a long-term subclinical complication. Studies to investigate auditory system involvement in diabetes has focused majorly on the auditory brainstem response (ABR), otoacoustic emission, and basic audiological measures. Hence in the current study, we used speech-evoked ABR (S-ABR) as a tool to see the effect of diabetes on both a transient and sustained response of the auditory brainstem to a conventionally used consonant-vowel (CV) stimuli /da/.
MATERIALS and METHODS: This preliminary investigation was done on 22 individuals in the age range of 40–55 years. 11 individuals were diabetics for a minimum period of five years. The S-ABR was recorded for all the participants with speech stimuli /da/ of 40 ms duration. Latency analysis of the waves V, A, D, E, F, and O were carried out. The statistical analysis included descriptive measures, paired t tests, and MANOVA.
RESULTS: The findings of the current study suggest that middle-aged individuals with diabetes have a significant deficiency in auditory processing at the brainstem level. Both transient (wave V (p=0.00), A (p=0.00), and O (p=0.00)) and sustained responses (wave D (p=0.001), E (p=0.00), and F (p=0.00)) of the S-ABR were found to be affected in diabetic individuals compared to age-matched non-diabetic individuals.
CONCLUSION: Considering diabetes is a common metabolic disorder in the middle-aged Indian population, the findings of the present study can have significant clinical implication.