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Hearing Loss and Diabetes

One has to do with your ears and the other has to do with how your body processes sugar, so how can hearing loss and diabetes be related? Although the connection is not as understood as diabetes and vision loss, hearing loss can be a direct result of uncontrolled diabetes. Continue reading to learn more about hearing loss and diabetes.

Hearing Loss and Diabetes

Separately, hearing loss and diabetes are two of America's most widespread health concerns. While an estimated 34.5 million people experience some type of hearing loss, another 30 million people have diabetes. These are two very large groups of people, and there seems to be a significant overlap between these two cohorts.

A recent study discovered hearing loss is twice as common in people who suffer from diabetes compared to those who do not have diabetes. In addition, the rate of hearing loss is 30% higher out of the 86 million Americans who suffer from prediabetes — compared to people with normal blood glucose.

How Is Hearing Loss and Diabetes Connected?

A study published in the journal of Otology and Neurotology explored how diabetes could affect hearing and discovered that diabetes is connected to hearing loss at all registers of sound. This suggests diabetes can cause significant damage to the inner ear.

Although you depend on your ears every day, most people rarely consider the intricacies and delicacies located in the ear. So when diabetes resulting from poorly controlled sugar starts to take its toll on the tiny blood vessels located throughout your body, your ears are damaged as well.

This is very similar to the way diabetes can cause damage to the kidneys and eyes. Although other body parts may be able to accommodate for damaged blood vessels by relying on alternate blood supplies, your ears do not have this option. As a result, your hearing dulls. In addition to losing your hearing, many people with diabetes also experiences an increased risk of falling due to the surprising link between hearing loss and balance.

How to Prevent Hearing Loss Related to Diabetes?

Everything you do to reduce diabetic complications can actually work to reduce hearing loss. According to a the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, risk for hearing loss increases as an individual's control of their A1C blood sugar worsens. While some people experience hearing loss as they age, there is a lot you can do to help minimize your risk and preserve your hearing, such as:

  • Manage exposure to loud noise
    A noisy work environment is considered to be one where you have to raise your voice or yell just to be heard. These types of environments are notorious for increasing your hearing loss risk. If you're unable to change jobs or tasks, you should consider using devices to protect your hearing, such as noise canceling headphones.

  • Avoid smoking
    By itself, smoking is known to expedite hearing loss and be extremely hazardous to your health. However, when it's combined with other hearing loss factors, such as working in a noisy environment or diabetes, it can serve as a multiplier.

  • Make sure you control your blood sugar
    Although managing type 2 and type 1 diabetes can seem like a full time job, it's a necessity to your quality of life and hearing.

How is Tinnitus and Diabetes Related?

Tinnitus is the awareness of sound or noise in the ears or head that isn't caused externally. While there are multiple types of tinnitus sounds, the most common are:

  • Whistles
  • Buzzes
  • Whirrs
  • Rings
  • Hisses

Tinnitus isn't a disease, but more like an unwelcome symptom. It's also a side effect of some metabolic disorders, medications, and could also result from abnormally high levels of insulin, which links it to diabetes. At the same time, alterations in glucose metabolism have a significant potential for disturbing the workings of the inner ear.

Contact North Shore Hearing P.C.

Just because you have diabetes doesn't mean you'll experience hearing loss. It does, however, put you at greater risk for hearing loss. In most instances, hearing loss is progressive, which means it will continue to worsen over time, and untreated hearing loss has several surprising effects outside of deafness.

The hearing experts at North Shore Hearing P.C. will work closely with you to help determine if you are experiencing hearing loss and guide you toward the most viable solution. We offer a wide array of hearing services and a vast expanse of hearing aid devices designed to accommodate virtually all types of lifestyles.

Contact North Shore Hearing P.C. today to schedule a free hearing exam.

Diane Faulknor, MA, CCC/A

After 18 years of experience in the field of audiology and hearing aid dispensing, I felt it was time to start my own practice which has led to the creation of North Shore Hearing, P.C. I take pride in the care I provide for my patients as hearing is not just a medical issues we need to deal with, but also the social and lifestyle ramifications that people with poor hearing live with on a day-to-day basis. Based on not only your hearing loss, but also the type of lifestyle you lead, we'll work together to fit you with the most appropriate hearing aid available in today's marketplace.