Genetic predisposition, aging, and prolonged exposure to loud sound are all familiar factors that can contribute to hearing loss. But the link between hearing loss and diabetes isn’t as well known. Let’s dig a little deeper into that.
How does diabetes raise 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, have this condition according to the CDC. And if you have diabetes, you’re twice as likely to develop hearing loss. Even in pre-diabetics, constituting 133 million Americans, the rate of hearing loss is 30% higher than in people with normal blood sugar levels.
Various body areas can be impacted by diabetes: kidneys, hands, feet, eyes, and even ears. High blood sugar levels can lead to the degeneration of small blood vessels and nerves in the inner ears. Conversely, low blood sugar levels can interrupt the transmission of nerve signals from the inner ear to the brain. Both situations can worsen hearing loss.
The lack of diabetes control induces chronic high blood pressure, leading to damage to the heart, blood vessels, kidneys, nerves, and eyes.
You may have hearing loss if you notice any of these signs
Hearing loss often develops slowly and can go undetected if you’re not actively paying attention. It’s not unusual for people around you to notice your hearing loss before you notice it.
Here are a few signs of hearing loss:
- Keeping the TV volume at a high level
- Perceiving others as mumbling
- Constantly needing people to repeat what they said
- Trouble following phone conversations
- Struggling in loud restaurants
It’s essential to call us for a consultation if you observe any of these signs or if somebody points out your hearing changes. After doing a hearing screening, we will establish a baseline for future visits and help you with any problems you may be having with balance.
If you have diabetes, be proactive
Getting a yearly hearing exam is important, and that’s particularly true for someone who has diabetes.
Keep your blood sugar levels within the desired range.
Avoid loud noises and protect your ears by wearing earplugs.