Can Having Diabetes Lead To Hearing Loss?

About 30 million people in the United States have diabetes, a disease characterized by high blood sugar levels. Between 90 and 95 percent of people with this disease have type 2, which can develop at any age.

Management of this disease is crucial. When blood sugar levels aren’t well-controlled, your risk of developing hearing loss may increase.

Diabetics are twice as likely to suffer hearing loss than those without according to a new study funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). One study tested more than 5,000 individuals and found more than 30 percent of those diagnosed also experienced hearing loss. Using tests that measured ability to hear at the low, mid, and high-frequencies in both ears, researchers have found a link between diabetes and hearing loss at all frequencies, with a somewhat stronger association in the high-frequency range.

What causes hearing loss in people with type 2 diabetes?

What causes or contributes to hearing loss in people with diabetes isn’t clear.

It’s known that high blood sugar can damage blood vessels throughout the body, including your ears. If you’ve had diabetes for a long time and it isn’t well-controlled, there could be damage to the vast network of small blood vessels in your ears.

Research suggests that women with the disease may experience greater hearing loss than those without the disease. This also applies to women with well-controlled diabetes.

Another complication is nerve damage. It’s possible that damage to the auditory nerves could lead to hearing loss.

More research is needed to fully understand the link between diabetes and hearing loss.

Ignoring your hearing loss could result in missing out on an early warning sign of a more serious health threat. If you have diabetes, you should have your hearing checked each year.

The best way to avoid hearing loss and other complications is to:

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