Relationship between Hearing Impairment and Frailty in Older Patients with Diabetes Mellitus
Aim: Hearing impairment, diabetes, and frailty have been increasingly prevalent in older people. Recently, the assessment of frailty has been recommended for older patients with diabetes mellitus. Diabetes increases the risk of hearing impairment, which in turn increases the risk of frailty. However, the relation between hearing impairment and frailty is still unclear in patients with diabetes. Thus, this study aimed to clarify the relationship between hearing impairment and frailty among older patients with diabetes mellitus.
Research design and methods: We used a finger friction test as a simple auditory screening for the assessment of hearing impairment and the Kihon Checklist (KCL for the assessment of frailty. The cognitive function was assessed using the Mini Mental State Examination (MMSE). A logistic regression analysis was used to investigate the cross-sectional associations between frailty and patient characteristics.
Results: This study involved 283 patients with diabetes with an average age of 75.3 years; the prevalence of frailty based on the scores of the KCL was 30%. Hearing impairment was present in 32.8% of patients without frailty and 57.6% of those with frailty (p<0.01). In multivariable analysis, frailty in patients with diabetes was associated with hearing impairment (odds ratio: 1.96, 95% confidence interval: 1.07-5.59].
Conclusions: These data suggest that hearing impairment as determined by a finger friction test is an important factor contributing to frailty among patients with diabetes.