Genetic predisposition, aging, and prolonged exposure to loud noise are all common factors that can contribute to hearing loss. But the connection between hearing loss and diabetes is not 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, cope with this condition according to the CDC. And if you have diabetes, you’re twice as likely to develop hearing loss. 133 million Americans are pre-diabetic and even they have a 30% higher risk of developing hearing loss than individuals whose blood sugar is normal.
Various body regions can be affected by diabetes: kidneys, hands, feet, eyes, and even ears. High blood sugar levels can cause the deterioration of small blood vessels and nerves in the inner ears. In contrast, low blood sugar levels can disrupt the transmission of nerve signals from the inner ear to the brain. Both situations can contribute to hearing loss.
The lack of diabetes management triggers chronic high blood pressure, causing damage to the heart, blood vessels, kidneys, nerves, and eyes.
You might have hearing loss if you notice any of these signs
Hearing loss often develops gradually and can go undetected if you aren’t actively paying attention. It’s not uncommon for people around you to notice your hearing loss before you notice it.
Some indicative signs of hearing loss include:
- Always having to turn the volume up on your devices and TV
- Having a difficult time hearing in loud places
- Regularly needing people to repeat what they said
- Difficulty hearing on the phone
- Perceiving others as mumbling
It’s important to contact 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 deal with any balance-related challenges.
Be proactive if you have diabetes
Getting an annual hearing test is important, and that’s particularly true for somebody who has diabetes.
Keep control of your blood sugar levels.
Avoid loud noises and shield your ears by using earplugs.