Diabetes and hearing loss are interconnected. Just ask the researchers of recent studies of 20,000 people
from various continents around the world, including United States, Asia, Brazil and Australia. A few recent
studies show you’re twice as likely to suffer from hearing loss if you also have diabetes than others who
don’t have it. The results show the two conditions are indeed related but no one’s sure why. As two of the
highest health concerns in this country, says the American Diabetes Association, diabetes and hearing loss
need to undergo more study to find that conclusive link. Amazingly, 30 million people have diabetes and
34.5 million people have hearing loss across the nation.
Signs and Symptoms of Hearing Loss
You may get frustrated picking up on background noise when there’s a crowd of people, or hearing muffled
sounds instead of clear words when people speak. Are you always saying “what?” or “please repeat
yourself”? Then you need to be on alert for the signs of hearing loss, such as having trouble keeping track
of conversations involving more than two people, failure to pick up on the voices of small children or
women, and cranking the volume on the TV or radio. Hearing loss can be embarrassing, sometimes causing
the avoidance of many social situations. Before this happens to you, go to an audiologist for diagnosis and
treatment. If not, you could pose a serious health and safety risk to yourself and others.
Testing for Diabetes
If your regular doctor doesn’t do a hearing test on you, ask for one. If it comes back questionable, don’t
leave without a referral to an audiologist to undergo additional evaluation. As a diabetic, you probably
go through several tests at your doctor visits, and fitting one more in can be a pain. But if it will help you
understand others and read situations better, it’s a good idea to get it done. With clear-cut diagnosis, your
doctor can better understand how your diabetic condition relates to your hearing loss.
Correlation Between Diabetes and Hearing Loss
There is definitely a link between diabetes and hearing loss, but the exact reason why is still largely
unknown. This could be due to the high blood glucose levels that come with diabetes, as these levels have
been known to damage the small sensitive blood vessels in the inner ear to incur hearing loss. Conclusive
evidence is still not clear. Did you know a diabetics’ ears can be adversely affected by high glucose levels
just like your eyes, kidneys and feet can? To learn more about the connection between the two conditions,
more research is called for. Old age isn’t to blame, and neither is a noisy working environment, according
to researchers, but what could help is doing a better job controlling blood sugar levels to reduce the risk of
hearing impairment. No one is really sure, though, because of the many medications and diuretics diabetics
ingest to lower their blood pressure.