Hearing Loss & Diabetes

​Diabetes Increases the Risk of Hearing Loss

If you or someone you know has diabetes, you are probably familiar with the damage the disease can do to the circulatory system. What you might not know is that the same glucose overload that destroys parts of the body can often impact hearing ability.

How Does Diabetes Affect Hearing?

One of the most common symptoms of diabetes is nerve damage to the hands, feet, eyes, and kidneys. Although less known to people, diabetes can cause nerve damage in the ears as well. Over time, high blood sugar levels can damage the small, delicate blood vessels of the inner ear, resulting in hearing loss.

For those who have low blood sugar, the nerve signals that carry sound to your brain can be damaged as well, leading to sensorineural hearing loss.

What the Research Shows

Studies have shown that diabetics are more than 2 times as likely to develop hearing loss. Even people with prediabetes have a 30% higher rate of hearing loss than people with normal blood sugar levels.

Hearing loss can weaken a person’s ability to communicate, can lead to depression and isolation, and can even contribute to dementia.

What You Should Do

Diabetics and their families need to be aware of this increased risk as screening for hearing loss, unlike vision, is not among the current tests routinely given to diabetics. Advances in technology and testing make diagnosing and treating hearing loss easy, eliminating any further barriers to improving the auditory health of those with diabetes.

Call NHB today to learn more about the connection between diabetes and hearing loss, and to schedule a hearing screening.

Sources: National Institute of Health, Center for Disease Control.