You may be familiar with the various aspects contributing to hearing loss, such as the impact of getting older, genetic predisposition within families, or prolonged exposure to loud noises. But the link between hearing loss and diabetes is not as well known. Let’s dig a little deeper into that.
How does diabetes increase 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. Even in pre-diabetics, constituting 133 million Americans, the rate of hearing loss is 30% higher than in people with normal blood sugar levels.
Various body areas can be affected by diabetes: kidneys, hands, feet, eyes, and even ears. The degeneration of the small blood vessels inside of your ears can be accelerated by high blood sugar levels. In contrast, low blood sugar levels can disrupt the transmission of nerve signals from the inner ear to the brain. Both scenarios can worsen hearing loss.
The lack of diabetes control causes chronic high blood pressure, causing damage to the heart, blood vessels, kidneys, nerves, and eyes.
Signs you might have hearing loss
Hearing loss often happens gradually and can go unnoticed if you aren’t actively paying attention. It’s not unusual for people around you to observe your hearing loss before you notice it.
Some suggestive signs of hearing loss include:
- Perceiving others as mumbling
- Always needing to turn up the volume of your devices and TV
- Struggling in noisy establishments
- Frequently asking others to repeat themselves
- Trouble following phone conversations
If you encounter any of these difficulties or if someone points out changes in your hearing, it’s important to consult with us. We will conduct a hearing examination that will establish a baseline for future assessments and also deal with any balance-related concerns.
Be proactive if you have diabetes
Getting a yearly hearing test is important, and that’s especially true for someone with diabetes.
Keep control of your blood sugar levels.
Make use of ear protection and avoid overly loud situations.