The relationship between hearing loss and diabetes has long been debated. Recent research now concludes that hearing loss is more prevalent in adults with diabetes even when the major factors known to affect hearing, such as age, race, ethnicity, income level, noise exposure , and use of certain medications have been accounted for.
One research study included data from participants ranging in age from 20 to 69. Important information they found:
People with diabetes were 2x more likely to have hearing loss than people without.
People who are pre-diabetic are 30% more likely to have hearing loss.
How does diabetes cause hearing loss?
Diabetes is a group of diseases marked by high levels of blood glucose resulting from defects in insulin production, insulin action, or both. Diabetes may lead to hearing loss by damaging the nerves and blood vessels of the inner ear, the researchers suggest.
High blood sugars may damage the very small blood vessels that support and feed the inner ear. This is similar to how high blood sugars can affect vision and kidney function. The blood vessel system that feeds the ear is very similar to the systems that support the eyes and kidneys. As this system is damaged, hearing is compromised.
Diabetes may play a role in hearing loss, but you can fight back by helping reduce your overall risk of hearing impairment. Some prevention tips:
Manage your diabetes if you have the disease, using strategies created with your medical doctor.
Reduce exposure to excess noise, one of the most preventable causes of hearing loss.
Eat a balanced, nutritious diet, which contributes to better ear functioning.
Avoid tobacco use, a risk factor for cancer, hearing loss, and many other problems.
Stay physically active, reduce blood sugar level.
Regular hearing check monitor your hearing.