You may be familiar with the various factors contributing to hearing loss, such as the impact of getting older, genetic predisposition within families, or prolonged exposure to loud noises. However, you may find it intriguing to understand the connection between diabetes and hearing impairment. Let’s dig a little deeper into that.
How does diabetes raise your risk of hearing loss?
As per the CDC, 9% or 37 million people in the United States are diagnosed with diabetes, and this prevalence rises with age. And if you have diabetes, you’re twice as likely to experience hearing loss. 133 million Americans are pre-diabetic and even they have a 30% increased risk of developing hearing loss than people whose blood sugar is normal.
Various body areas can be affected by diabetes: kidneys, hands, feet, eyes, and even ears. High blood sugar levels can cause the degeneration of small blood vessels and nerves in the inner ears. In contrast, low blood sugar levels can interrupt the transmission of nerve signals from the inner ear to the brain. Worsened hearing loss can be the result of both situations.
The lack of diabetes control causes chronic high blood pressure, leading to damage to the heart, blood vessels, kidneys, nerves, and eyes.
Signs you may have hearing loss
If you aren’t actively monitoring the state of your hearing, hearing loss can slowly sneak up on you. In many instances, friends and co-workers may notice the problem before you identify it.
Some suggestive signs of hearing loss include:
- Difficulty following phone conversations
- Always needing to turn up the volume of your devices and TV
- Feeling like people are mumbling when they talk
- Struggling in noisy restaurants
- Frequently asking others to repeat themselves
It’s important to call us for a consultation if you notice any of these signs or if somebody points out your hearing changes. We will conduct a hearing test that will establish a baseline for future assessments and also deal with any balance-related challenges.
Be proactive if your managing diabetes
We encourage all individuals with diabetes to get an annual hearing test.
Maintain control of your blood sugar levels.
Use ear protection and steer clear of overly loud situations.