Diabetics are more likely to suffer from hearing loss

1 in 16 Canadians have diabetes, making it one of the most common conditions affecting Canadians [1]. The ties between diabetes and hearing loss has been a long debated topic. However, research confirms that adults with diabetes are more likely to experience hearing loss than those without the disease.

One study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism analyzed the prevalence of hearing impairment between diabetic and non-diabetic adults. The research uncovered that diabetics are twice as likely to have hearing loss than those without, regardless of their age [2].

What is the relation between hearing loss and diabetes?

The exact reason the two are related is not quite clear. Various researchers think that hearing nerves are damaged by diabetes. Think of it as neuropathy of the hearing nerve. Nerves throughout your whole body can be damaged by high blood sugars. Nerve damage from diabetes is called ‘diabetic neuropathy’. The feet, hands, arms and legs are usually the first areas of the body affected by diabetic neuropathy [3].

The exact nerves that are affected usually determine which symptoms of diabetic neuropathy you’ll have from pain and numbness in your legs and feet to problems with other areas of your body, including the heart, digestive system and more. The symptoms differ from person to person and can be mild to extremely debilitating. Therefore, researchers strongly believe that this exact thing is happening to the hearing nerves.

Researchers also believe this theory: small blood vessels that support and feed the inner ear can become damaged by high blood sugars and can also affect kidney function and vision. The ears, eyes and kidneys all have similar blood vessel systems that supply blood to that area. As any of the area’s systems are damaged, so too is the function of that system, including hearing [4].

Researchers believe all have one common denominator: High blood sugars!

What diabetics can do to prevent hearing loss

It has been established that by keeping blood sugars lower, the chances of damaging your hearing will decrease. Hearing protection for diabetics strongly relies on following the medication and diet regimens recommended by your doctor.

There is also another variable to consider. As someone’s hearing decreases, the chances of social isolation and depression increase [5]. Diabetics who are isolated and depressed may struggle more with their treatment plans and managing their blood sugar levels. This can become a bit of slippery slope with all of the components aggravating one another. It is important to be mindful of symptoms of hearing loss, social isolation and depression.

Start managing your hearing today

Regardless if you think you have hearing loss, if you have diabetes you should get a baseline measurement of your hearing. As time goes by, annual hearing tests are recommended. Just like your vision, your hearing can be normal and unaffected for a long time and then diminish over a small period of time. Normal monitoring of your hearing can ensure your doctors and caretakers are able to provide treatment immediately if and when your hearing starts to become affected.

If you are experiencing symptoms of hearing loss, it is even more imperative to get your hearing examined. The sooner you treat the hearing loss, the less impact it will have on your quality of life. Not sure where to get hearing loss treatment? We can help you! Call (888) 919-6824 or click here to find a local hearing clinic.

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By Starkey Canada

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