July 27, 2023

If you have been experiencing hearing loss, you are probably aware of the most well-known causes, such as aging, exposure to loud noises, Meniere’s disease and otosclerosis. It is less commonly known that diabetes is also a primary cause of hearing damage.

Research has demonstrated that diabetes doubles a person’s risk of hearing loss. Since diabetes affects a large portion of the American population, this is an important consideration, especially if you have had a history of blood sugar issues either personally or in your family medical history.

What is the Connection?

It is theorized that hearing loss may be a complication of diabetes, but this correlation is not well understood. As diabetes becomes more and more common in America, we may also see a corresponding rise in hearing loss.

A study by the NIH followed 339 people in two groups: the first group was diabetic and the other was not. 54% of the people with diabetes experienced high-frequency hearing loss, and 21% had low- to mid-frequency hearing loss. The non-diabetic cohort, in comparison, experienced 32% of any hearing loss.

What About Pre-diabetes?

Pre-diabetic people (who have elevated blood sugar levels) have been shown to have a 30 percent higher risk of developing hearing damage than those with normal blood sugar readings.

Though we don’t know for sure why high blood sugar tend to correlate with hearing loss, it has been observed that blood sugar can affect the health of blood vessels and capillaries and affect blood circulation in general. The capillaries and nerves of the inner ear are affected by high blood sugar in a way comparable to the eyes, kidneys and other organs.

If you are aware that you have blood sugar issues or diabetes, it is important to consider the impact that can have on your hearing now or in the future.

More than 36 million people in the US suffer from some form of hearing loss, and an estimated 40 million people suffer from diabetes. These are two of the top health issues facing Americans today, and now we know they are probably related to each other.

Now What?

Both diabetes and hearing loss can be prevented in most cases if we take the right steps. As your doctor about ways to prevent or mitigate high blood sugar with diet, exercise and other options.

Having annual hearing exams is the best way to stay on top of any changes in hearing ability and take action to prevent further damage. People who begin noticing signs of hearing loss often note difficulty following conversation on the phone or in crowded or loud environments, having to frequently ask others to repeat themselves, or needing the TV or radio at very high volumes. If you are diabetic or pre-diabetic, be aware of these indications. If start to have any of these indicators, make an appointment with your audiologist to have an evaluation.

The first step to halting hearing loss and preventing further damage is to recognize your situation. Come in today for a hearing screening and formulate a strategy to train your brain to listen actively and effectively.

Diablo Hearing Services   2301 Camino Ramon, STE 106   San Ramon  (925) 394-4646

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