Genetic predisposition, aging, and prolonged exposure to loud noise are all familiar factors that can contribute to hearing loss. But the link between hearing loss and diabetes is not as widely known. Let’s dig a little bit deeper into that.
How does diabetes increase your risk of hearing loss?
The prevalence of diabetes increases as you get older, and 37 million individuals, or 9% of the United States population, cope with this condition according to the CDC. Hearing loss is twice as prevalent in people with diabetes compared to those who don’t have the condition. Even in pre-diabetics, constituting 133 million Americans, the degree of hearing loss is 30% higher than in people with normal blood sugar levels.
A variety of body regions can be affected by diabetes: kidneys, hands, feet, eyes, and even ears. High blood sugar levels can lead to the deterioration of small blood vessels and nerves in the inner ears. And on the other end of the spectrum, the transmission of nerve signals from the inner ear can be interrupted by low blood sugar. Both scenarios can worsen hearing loss.
The lack of diabetes management causes chronic high blood pressure, causing damage to the heart, blood vessels, kidneys, nerves, and eyes.
Signs you may have hearing loss
Hearing loss often develops slowly and can go unnoticed if you aren’t actively paying attention. In many cases, friends and co-workers may detect the problem before you become aware of it.
Here are a few signs of hearing loss:
- Perceiving others as mumbling
- Having a tough time hearing in loud places
- Frequently asking others to repeat themselves
- Trouble following phone conversations
- Keeping the TV volume at a high level
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 exam that will establish a baseline for future assessments and also address any balance-related concerns.
Be proactive if you have diabetes
Getting an annual hearing exam is important, and that’s especially true for someone with diabetes.
Keep control of your blood sugar levels.
Steer clear of loud noises and shield your ears by using earplugs.