Check Your Hearing This November for American Diabetes Month

Check Your Hearing This November for American Diabetes Month

Leanne E. Polhill, LHAS, BC-HIS, BA Hearing Loss Causes

Leanne E. Polhill, LHAS, BC-HIS, BA
Latest posts by Leanne E. Polhill, LHAS, BC-HIS, BA (see all)

Diabetes and hearing loss are more closely linked than you might believe. November is American Diabetes Month, a nationwide campaign to raise awareness around this prevalent medical condition. But how is it related to hearing loss? Let’s explore these connections!


There are 34 million diabetics in the United States and 34.5 million persons who suffer from hearing loss. Many of them have both – hearing loss is 30 percent more likely in those with prediabetes, and it is twice as common in people with diabetes as it is in people without diabetes. Furthermore, hearing loss in people with diabetes often occurs sooner than in people without diabetes. The risk increases if the person also has comorbidities such as neuropathies, high blood pressure, or cardiovascular disease.


Tight blood sugar control and a comprehensive diabetic management strategy can help you avoid hearing loss, as they can with many other diabetes-related illnesses. Other hearing loss risk factors, such as smoking and working in loud environments, can also help safeguard your ears.


Traditional diabetes educators and medical care teams have concentrated on the long-term effects of diabetes on vision, but new research highlights the necessity of safeguarding hearing as well.


Diabetes and Hearing Loss: The Link

Diabetes is linked to hearing loss at all sound registers, suggesting that it can cause substantial damage to the inner ear, according to a study published in the journal of Otology and Neurotology.


Your ear is a fragile organ that you rely on daily. As a result, when diabetes damages your small blood arteries throughout your body, your ears are also harmed if your blood sugar is poorly controlled. While other parts of your body can compensate for broken blood arteries by relying on other blood sources, your ear does not have that luxury.


Hearing loss researcher and otolaryngologist Yuri Agrawal, MD, assistant professor of otolaryngology at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, notes, “There is no redundancy in the blood flow to the inner ear.” When a blood vessel is destroyed, there is no backup blood supply, and your hearing suffers as a result. You’ll have a higher chance of falling if you lose your hearing because your inner ear not only controls your hearing but also your sense of balance.


Preventing hearing loss due to diabetes

To better understand the impact of diabetes on hearing, Agrawal and colleagues examined hearing and health data from 3,527 adults who took part in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey between 1999 and 2002. She discovered that as blood sugar control deteriorates, the chance of hearing loss increases.


Even while hearing loss is common as individuals age, there are some things you can do to lower your risk and protect your hearing, including:


Maintain a healthy blood sugar level. Type 1 and type 2 diabetes might be challenging to manage at times, but strict blood sugar control can help keep your hearing sharper for longer.


Quit smoking. Smoking accelerates hearing loss on its own, but when paired with other risk factors for hearing loss, such as poorly controlled diabetes or working in a noisy setting.


Control loud noises. When it comes to hearing loss, researchers define a noisy workplace as one where you have to raise your voice to be heard. Hearing loss is more likely in this type of environment. Consider employing noise-canceling or reduction devices to protect your hearing if you can’t switch employment.


Get your hearing checked as often as your eyesight

For years, doctors who treat diabetic patients have made sure that their patients get frequent eye exams. The data relating diabetes with hearing loss stresses the importance of having patients’ hearing tested as well. 


If you have diabetes, we strongly advise you to check your hearing by a hearing professional every time your doctor gives you a vision exam. Preventive care will aid in the detection of any potential hearing loss, allowing you to pursue treatment alternatives. Remember that hearing loss can creep up on you slowly, making it difficult to notice. Contact us today to set up an appointment!