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What do hearing loss and diabetes have in common? They are almost equally widespread, affecting tens of millions of people. However recent studies show that adults with diabetes are over two times as vulnerable to hearing loss than people without the disease. In light of the recent World Diabetes Day, Audicus Hearing Aids thought about shedding a bit of light on the correlation between this ferocious duo.

Hearing Loss and Diabetes Incidence

For starters, diabetes is a metabolic disease whereby a person has a high level of blood sugar because of the body’s inability to produce enough insulin or its cells not being able to accept the insulin that is being produced. It affects nearly 24 million Americans, or almost 1 in every 12 people. It is potentially fatal. Hearing loss, in turn affects close to 35Mn Americans or one in every 9 people. Similar to diabetes, there are millions of people who are affected by this condition without even knowing it.

Now a recent report by the The National Institute of Health (NIH) suggests that diabetes can contribute to the onset of hearing loss. The NIH administered hearing tests to over 5,000 participants and found that 68 percent, or two thirds of diabetics had hearing loss. In fact, while hearing loss is primarily correlated with age, it can appear among pre-diabetics as young as 30 years of age. Pre-diabetics are 30 percent more likely to experience hearing loss than their non-diabetic counterparts. This means that for some people, hearing loss can indicate a larger underlying health problem.

The Hearing Loss Connection

Diabetes means the body is dealing with high blood glucose levels. The abnormal amount of blood sugar could damage the delicate nerves and blood vessels in one’s middle and inner ear. This damage has been observed in autopsies performed on deceased patients with diabetes. Through a similar destructive process, these fluctuating blood sugar levels can also contribute to vision loss.

There are a number of symptoms linked to diabetes, including unexplained weight loss, fatigue, and frequent urination. Anyone with diabetes should stay vigilant about their hearing and vice versa, people with hearing loss should stay aware of diabetes symptoms. Early intervention is key to preventing further damage. To see whether you have diabetes or hearing loss, make sure to get regular blood and hearing tests.

Can Hearing Aids Help Me with my Hearing Loss?

The kind of hearing loss caused by diabetes is usually high-frequency Sensorineural hearing loss. This form can usually be addressed by today’s hearing aids, especially modern digital technology. While if you have diabetes your best bet is to remain vigilant about your hearing loss, feel free to reach out to Audicus Hearing Aids if you’re interested in learning more about our modern hearing aid solutions.

Sources: Audicus Hearing Aids, Diabetes.org, HealthyHearing.org, NIH.gov

by Patrick Freuler