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From Munich, Germany:

My 4-year-old nephew has been diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes for one year. Now he has also been diagnosed with a sensory hearing loss. I have heard that the hearing loss can be related with the diabetes. Is this true? How can you diagnose the reason of the hearing loss? I have also heard that a lack of zinc can cause hearing loss. Is this true? What is the likely progression of the hearing loss? Will he become totally deaf? Is there a cure?


I'm afraid that I can't answer your question fully without more information. Type 1 diabetes is the commonest endocrine problem so it is inevitable that some children with sensory hearing loss will have diabetes by coincidence. However, there are a large number of so called "syndromes" where there is an association between the two problems. You need to ask your diabetes team if they think the problems are related because this will give the clue to the progression or otherwise of the problem. Recently a new association has been discovered called MIDD - Maternally inherited diabetes and deafness - because of the unusual genetics involved. This has been reported to account for up to 1.3% of diabetics in Japan.


Original posting 17 Apr 97


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