The most well-known causes of hearing loss include aging, excessive noise, otosclerosis and Meniere’s disease. Less widely known, however, is that diabetes is also a leading cause of hearing loss.
Research is now showing that diabetics are approximately twice as likely to have hearing loss as non-diabetics. Diabetes affects a significant percentage of the US population, which makes these findings worth considering if you are either diabetic or pre-diabetic.
Hearing loss could be a complication of diabetes, though this connection is not yet well understood. As diabetes begins to affect more of the American population, hearing loss may become a more commonplace occurrence.
The National Institutes of Health performed a study in 2008 which followed two groups of people: one with diabetes, and one without it. Out of 399 participants, 21% of the diabetics experienced low- to mid-frequency hearing loss, and 54% of them experienced high-frequency hearing loss. This compares with just 32% percent of non-diabetics.
How does pre-diabetes factor in?
People with elevated blood sugar numbers (pre-diabetic) have a 30 percent higher chance of developing hearing loss than people with normal blood sugar levels.
It is not yet known why higher blood sugar levels are detrimental to hearing health, but it is speculated that the nerves and capillaries in the inner ear can be impaired by high blood sugar similar to the way the eyes, kidneys and other organs are damaged.
It is estimated that 30 million people in America suffer from diabetes. Since nearly 35 million Americans have level of hearing loss, diabetes and hearing loss are two of the biggest health issues in the U.S. today.
If you already know that you have diabetes or pre-diabetes, preventing future issues by understanding the risks of hearing loss is important.
What can you do?
Common signs of hearing loss include asking people to repeat themselves, difficulty hearing people talking in noisy environments or on the phone, listening to media at high volumes, or often thinking others are mumbling. If you are diabetic or pre-diabetic, watch for these signs and if you begin to experience any of these symptoms speak with your audiologist to schedule a hearing 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