DIABETES MELLITUS IN THE INNER EAR
Information about the inner ear repercussions of diabetes mellitus is scattered and not so well recognized. Variable findings have been reported when testing the auditory or the vestibular function of both animal models and patients with either type 1 or type 2 diabetes mellitus. In the cochlea there is evidence of microangiopathy with loss of outer hair cells, while the vestibular maculae seem to be less predisposed to vascular damage, with derangement of the electrical transmission of both the auditory and the vestibular pathways. However, differences among the cochlea and the 5 vestibular organs have to be considered (eg. energy production, resistance to ischemia and insulin signaling). To better understand the functional meaning of the diverse damage of the inner ear organs related to diabetes mellitus, multidisciplinary studies on the specific vestibular organs and detailed studies on the effects of diabetes mellitus on the auditory and vestibular central pathways are still required.
Keywords: Diabetes mellitus, ear/ inner, hearing, vestibular.
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