It’s not uncommon for two conditions to be related to each other. In fact, it happens more often than you think, especially in the case of diabetes and hearing loss. You may be surprised to find out the two are related, but for what reason – no one knows — yet. These two conditions are the two most prevalent health problems in America today, according to the American Diabetes Association. The stats say it all: 30 million people suffer from diabetes, while 34.5 million people have some degree of hearing loss. Recent studies have shown that you are twice as likely to have hearing loss if you have diabetes than other people without the disease. Culled from 20,000 people from various places around the globe, including the U.S., Asia, Brazil and Australia, recent studies are trying to determine the connection.
Correlation Between Diabetes and Hearing Loss
For the purposes of the above study, age and noise don’t appear to play a vital role in the correlation. Rather, researchers are testing the theory that high blood glucose levels associated with diabetes can harm your inner ear’s sensitive blood vessels. This damage can hurt your hearing, in effect causing hearing loss. Because diabetics have problems with their eyes, kidneys and feet, it’s safe to say their hearing could be affected too. It may be wise, for example, for diabetics to better control their blood sugar levels to lower the risk of hearing impairment. The cause could be due to the medications and diuretics taken by diabetics to curb their blood pressure, which is one plausible theory researchers are exploring.
Signs and Symptoms of Hearing Loss
If you’ve stopped going to social gatherings for fear of embarrassment when you can’t hear what people are saying clearly, you may have a hearing problem, diabetic or not. Failure to get diagnosed and treated by an hearing instrument specialist can be detrimental, especially if diabetes is to blame. This is why you should be proactive and be wary of signs and symptoms of hearing loss. Do you experience any of this?
- Difficulty following conversations involving multiple people, perceiving others’ conversations as mumbling
- Trouble with detecting the voices of small children or women
- The need to put the volume on the TV or radio up too loud for others near you
Testing for Diabetes
The hope is that doctors, armed with the information from these studies, will become advocates for testing for hearing in all their clients regularly to help researchers establish a possible connection. A standard hearing test should be part of your routine testing. If it comes back positive for a hearing impairment, see an hearing instrument specialist right away. Not only will you be helping yourself, you’ll be giving researchers much-needed information on the relationship between diabetes and hearing loss.