Diabetes and Hearing Loss

Diabetes is one of the most prevalent medical conditions in the world. In fact, the amount of adults with diabetes has doubled since 1980, and it is estimated that nearly 350 million people worldwide suffer from either type 1 or type 2 diabetes. Part of this increase in diabetes is due to rising obesity rates and the increased number of individuals with high triglycerides and HDL numbers. However, the biggest increase in the amount of diabetes patients is simply due to an aging population. Since diabetes most often hits middle aged people, this is no surprise.

There are many symptoms of diabetes:

  • Dry mouth
  • Increased urination
  • Numbness of hands and feet
  • Increased thirst and hunger
  • Fatigue
  • Blurred Vision
  • Hearing loss

Like diabetes, the last symptom (hearing loss), is also widely prevalent. Hearing loss is the third most common chronic condition in older Americans after hypertension and arthritis. In fact, it has been estimated that between 25% and 40% of the population aged 65+ is hearing impaired. When considering diabetes and hearing loss, and how prevalent they both are, one may wonder, is there a link?

Well, the research is pretty conclusive. Yes, there is a link between diabetes and hearing loss. According to the American Diabetes Association, the National Institute of Health has found that hearing loss is twice as common in people with diabetes as it is in those who don’t have the disease. Having diabetes may cause one to experience a greater degree of hearing loss as they age. In addition, even if you  just have prediabetes you run a higher risk of developing hearing loss. According to a study published in 2008 in the  Annals of Internal Medicine, adults with prediabetes, whose blood glucose is higher than normal have a 30% higher rate of hearing loss compared to those with normal blood sugar.

So what should you do if you are prediabetic or already have diabetes? Of course, continue to treat your condition as your doctors recommend, but remember to get your hearing tested at least once every 2 years.

Below I’ve posted a quick video from an audiologist discussing a little more about hearing loss and diabetes and the importance of “keeping tabs” on your hearing loss as you deal with your diabetes.

If you’d like a free phone consultation with a licensed hearing provider, please feel free to call us at 800-731-6794.

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