Diabetes is a serious but common medical condition that can be categorized by people who have higher blood sugar levels than usual. Among the many symptoms and effects that this condition has on the body, one of the most common ones is hearing loss.
Hearing loss and diabetes tend to go hand in hand, and if you suffer from either Type 1 or Type 2 you might be at risk. Managing diabetes has thankfully never been easier as there is now a wealth of information, resources, and medication available to patients that allow them to live normal lives with the condition.
Diabetes hearing loss is one of the unfortunate impacts that this condition can have, so being aware of why it happens and what we can do to manage it is crucial. Among the many complications of diabetes, this is one that can dramatically impact your life, but thankfully there are things that we can do to make it better.
The current figures show that around 30 million Americans have diabetes, and this includes both children and adults. The most common form is Type 2 diabetes which can come on at any age and is usually the result of a number of lifestyle factors.
In the last decade, the number of people diagnosed with diabetes has increased a dramatic 50 percent, so it’s clear something needs to be done.
On the other hand, around 16 percent of Americans also suffer from some form of hearing loss, but when we look at diabetes patients specifically, this number doubles. With over 34 million Americans having hearing loss issues and 30 million having diabetes, the overlap between the two groups is quite surprising and large.
Even in the group of patients with prediabetes, of which there are around 84 million adults in the country, the rate of hearing loss is 30 percent more than those with normal blood sugar levels.
This indicates further that there is a definite link between diabetes and hearing loss. If you’ve been wondering can diabetes cause hearing loss, the unfortunate answer is yes.
Diabetes is responsible for so many other issues that occur within the body and when not managed properly can be quite severe. Some symptoms that you might notice are blurred vision, increased thirst, weight loss, hunger, and frequent urination, and if left untreated there can be serious repercussions like kidney failure, blindness, and even amputation.
At this stage, scientists have no definitive answer about why diabetes can cause hearing loss, but some recent studies are certainly bringing us closer to the solution. The most obvious answer is that the high levels of blood glucose do damage to the inner ear’s blood vessels, but there are other speculations as well.
One of the most important parts of the body are the minute hair cells that live in the inner ear. These hair cells are responsible for translating the noise that we hear into our brains and then interpreting it as recognizable sound. Therefore, without these hairs in good condition, we will be prone to hearing loss.
The inner ear hair cells can be easily damaged without good circulation and it’s believed that the high blood glucose levels found in diabetics can potentially cause this damage.
When the hair cells are damaged, they do not regenerate and so once they’ve been damaged like this they will die. This results in a permanent hearing loss that is only treatable by special hearing devices.
There are a few different types of diabetes and they will determine what treatment or prevention is possible. Here’s a little more about each type and what things can be done to treat them:
It is possible to protect your hearing with some careful measures, and for patients with diabetes, this is the best approach. Making sure volume is kept at a sensible level, avoiding excessive noise, regular exercise, and maintain a healthy weight can all be beneficial for the management of diabetes and your hearing.
Once you’ve already started to feel the effects of hearing loss caused by diabetes, it’s hard to reverse the damage that’s been done. As suggested earlier, the hair cells of the inner ear will die if they become damaged, so the only treatment would then be to arm yourself with a specialized hearing device.
Our sense of hearing is something that needs to be protected at all costs, and if you’re a diabetic then this is even more important to remember. Regardless of what type of diabetes you have, you’ll need to manage it correctly to avoid the hearing loss that is commonly associated with this condition.
As we learn more about the link between hearing loss and diabetes, we will surely understand better ways to treat and prevent it. For now, it’s important to do what you can to remain healthy and take care of your hearing so that long term and permanent damage isn’t done.