Don’t Allow Diabetes to Damage Your Hearing!

November is National Diabetes Month. This is the time to focus our attention on diabetes, a condition that affects over 37 million people in the United States. However, this is also a good time to think of our hearing because studies show that there is a link between diabetes and hearing loss.

A 2008 study by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) showed that hearing loss is about twice as common in adults with diabetes compared to those who do not have the disease. Even those with pre-diabetes had a 30% higher rate of hearing loss when compared to those with normal blood glucose/sugar levels.

What is the connection?

Although research is ongoing, there is a strong suspicion that the high blood glucose levels associated with diabetes injure the hearing nerves and the tiny blood vessels that supply the ears. The longer and the more blood sugar levels are not controlled, the greater the chances for hearing loss become. Of course, one also must keep in mind that other causes, such as aging and loud sound exposures further complicate and accelerate the loss.

Beware of hearing loss symptoms and report them to the doctor.

Although symptoms may be silent and progress slowly, people usually notice that sounds are a lot duller. The ears feel stuffy. Speech is hard to decipher, especially in background noise. They turn the TV up louder and louder and accuse family and friends of mumbling. Often, people may perceive buzzing or ringing in the ears. This is called tinnitus and can be a sign of hearing loss. 

Report any of these symptoms to the doctor at once. Ask for a referral to have a professional, comprehensive hearing test done. Although doctors monitor patients diligently for long-term complications related to diabetes, such as heart and kidney disease, hearing loss becomes all too often a sneaky, underrated consequence of diabetes. Don’t let that happen. Be mindful of your hearing.

In the end…

Don’t allow diabetes to damage your hearing! During the month of November learn about the benefits of managing the condition effectively in order to avoid long-term complications such as hearing loss. Hearing health checks should be part of any diabetes care plan. That way, people with diabetes will be able to hear so much better and so much longer.


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