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Hearing Loss and Diabetes: Commonalities and Causes

It is not coincidental that those with diabetes are more likely to experience hearing loss - as a matter of fact, it is doubly likely that someone with diabetes would suffer hearing loss compared to those without. It is recommended that people diagnosed with diabetes make the effort to have their hearing tested as soon as they are able to allow for proper treatment. 

While the link between diabetes and hearing loss has been a topic of great debate since before the 60’s, there seems to be a correlation between the two. According to a report by the National Institutes of Health, autopsies performed on patients who had diabetes displayed an obvious change to the blood vessels and nerves of the inner ear. The damage to these blood vessels and nerves indicated that the patients had indeed experienced some form of hearing loss as a direct effect of the disease. This may be the indication that diabetes potentially causes hearing loss, but understanding exactly how it affects hearing is still a topic of research and debate. It is possible the cause is similar to the way diabetes can affect vision - the high blood glucose levels  cause damage to the very small vessels inside the ear. 

Another interesting development was the findings that patients diagnosed with pre-diabetes indicated that the levels of blood sugar had a direct effect on hearing capabilities. The participants all had testing completed after fasting overnight - the patients with pre-diabetes experienced a greater level of hearing loss: 30 percent greater than those with normal levels of blood sugar. 

Typically, the factor of age displays much different results in testing. Most recent testing includes a younger age group to allow for more conclusive results. As heightened age typically lends to hearing impairment despite the presence of other diseases or ailments, the results of previous tests were not as comprehensive as they could have been. Recent testing allows for the factor of age as a cause of hearing loss to be ruled out in some cases.

While there are many different causes and reasons over 34 million people experience hearing loss, it is important to understand that we are still researching and discovering new connections constantly. We know that diabetes has a correlation to causing damage to many parts of the body, organs, and has other effects, but now understanding it can lend itself to hearing impairment may help those who are first diagnosed to carefully monitor and be more aware of it occurring.

Have you been diagnosed with diabetes? Be sure to visit your doctor to talk about the possibilities and potential of hearing loss and be prepared before it occurs. The first step in the process of obtaining a hearing aid is having a hearing test, or audiogram conducted. Let Resonance Hearing Aids guide you to the correct place and help connect you with a local audiologist. Once you have your results, we provide an easy process of submitting your audiogram results and choosing the aid that is right for you. If you have other questions, call us today to receive more information and helpful tips for your journey toward better hearing.