Does Diabetes Cause Hearing Loss?

by | Jan 10, 2014 | news

Does Diabetes Cause Hearing Loss?

Given the numbers of people who suffer from diabetes and hearing loss – two of the most prevalent health concerns in the country – it wouldn’t be surprising to find that some people with diabetes also have hearing loss. But the numbers are surprisingly high, and point to an obvious connection between the two conditions.

High Blood Sugar Damages Blood Vessels In The Ears

High levels of blood sugar cause damage to blood vessels. In patients with diabetes, this can lead to a variety of health problems like kidney damage and problems with their eyesight. New research has shown that people with diabetes also suffer damage in the blood vessels of their ears, leading to high rates of hearing loss in diabetic patients.

Hearing Loss More Prevalent In People With Diabetes

A study published in 2008 in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that 21% of diabetic adults had hearing loss, compared to 9% of non-diabetic adults. And for people over the age of 60, the frequency of hearing impairment in people with diabetes increased to 54%, compared to 32% for those without diabetes.

Hearing Loss Is Gradual

Hearing loss for diabetic patients doesn’t happen all at once, and it doesn’t necessarily happen when they are first diagnosed. Hearing loss in diabetic patients can gradually worsen over time, and so it may not be caught with the original diabetes diagnosis. Annual hearing tests with an experienced audiologist are crucial for diabetic patients, to make sure that their hearing health is strong, and any concerns are addressed.

Hearing Aids Offer A Higher Quality Of Life

We know from other studies that people – particularly older adults with hearing loss can suffer from anxiety, depression and social isolation. We also know that hearing aids can help to manage these effects and give the user – and their families – a much higher quality of life.

Get Your Hearing Tested By An Experienced Audiologist

With all this information, it is important that people who are diagnosed with diabetes get their hearing tested annually by an experienced audiologist to ensure that their hearing health is taken care of, along with the rest of their physical health.

Early Detection Is Important

An experienced audiologist will be able to detect early signs of hearing loss, and given the patient’s history and lifestyle, will be able to recommend an appropriate treatment, and hearing aids to suit their individual needs.

When getting your eyes checked, your lungs checked and your blood sugar checked, don’t forget about your hearing. Your quality of life depends on it.

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Dr. Ana Anzola, CCC-A, FAAA, ABA Principal

Dr. Anzola received her Doctorate degree in Audiology (AuD) from the Arizona School of Health Sciences, and her Master’s Degree in Audiology and her Bachelor's Degree in Speech Language Pathology and Audiology from Towson University. She has been a fellow of the American Academy of Audiology (AAA) since 1995, board-certified by the American Board of Audiology (ABA), and certified by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA).

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