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From Odessa, Florida, USA:

My nine year old son has complained of ringing in his ears. The ENT doctor found nothing and sent him off to a neurologist for a MRI. Before we put him through that. I wanted to find out if you are aware of ringing in the ears as a symptom of diabetes. Someone mentioned reading that it was.


Ringing in the ear is not a typical sign of diabetes. Please see symptoms of diabetes.


Additional comments from Dr. P.S. Ledereich:

There may be an association of nerve malfunction in people with diabetes who already have diabetes. It would certainly be unusual to come in with tinnitus (ringing in the ears) and then diagnosing diabetes from that.

It sounds like the doctors may be on the right track. I do many tests to patients complaining of tinnitus. These (can) include: a plain hearing test, an ABR hearing test, otoacoustic emissions, MRI of the brain AND cerebellopontine angle with gadolineum contrast (looking specifically for a tumor called an acoustic neuroma - which will be seen in 1/100 patients with tinnitus), FTA-ABS, several autoimmune markers - anti cochlear, etc., and lyme testing (endemic in some parts of the United States), and thyroid testing.

Most often the test results are usually nothing (and I can reassure the patients that is probably is nothing serious). Then I would:

  1. counsel them for hearing preservation and avoiding acoustic trauma
  2. send them to a self help group, e.g., the American Tinnitus Association, which will supply many self-help tricks that work in many patients
  3. order a tinnitus masker
  4. try tinnitus retraining techniques
  5. in the worst cases, give antidepressants (not for depression, but that they help stabilize nerve membranes, which decrease stimulation and has shown to decrease the tinnitus).


Original posting 8 Oct 2003
Posted to Diagnosis and Symptoms


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