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Diabetes Can Lead to Higher Rates of Hearing Loss

by April Maguire

If you or someone you know would like to learn more about hearing loss and how to treat it, please feel free to schedule a consultation or contact one of our representatives today!

When you think of diabetes, you probably don't think of hearing loss. The most common complications that stem from diabetes are cardiovascular disease, nerve damage, and damage to the eyes, kidneys and even feet. As such, these complications tend to get all of the attention, but there is an increasing body of evidence that suggests people with diabetes are at a significantly higher risk of developing hearing loss.

Diabetes and Hearing Ability

So how does a disease that stems from too much glucose in the blood cause hearing loss? As it turns out, there are a couple of different factors at play here. First, the hair-like cells in the inner ear that absorb sounds are incredibly delicate. Scientists believe that a build-up of glucose in the system could cause these delicate cells to stop functioning properly, inhibiting their ability to take in auditory information and leading to hearing complications.

Secondly, diabetes is known to have a negative impact on the body's nervous system. As you might imagine, the blood vessels that lead into the ears are very small. So when blood that is thickened with excess glucose tries to pass through these vessels, damage can occur. And once the nerves in and around the ears are damaged, hearing loss can begin to set in.

When it comes to diabetes and hearing loss, the numbers don't lie. Based on the findings of the American Diabetes Association, people who have higher blood sugar levels are almost twice as likely to suffer from some type of hearing difficulty. Surprisingly, these complications extend to individuals that are pre-diabetic as well, as the rate of hearing loss among this group if roughly 30 percent higher than average.

Given these risks, the question then becomes: What can you do about it? The first step is to make sure you get annual physical exams. That way any blood glucose abnormalities can be detected as early as possible and corrective measures can be implemented. Additionally, it's a good idea to maintain a healthy diet and active lifestyle, as these have been proven to stave off diabetes and keep your blood sugar levels within the normal range.

If you already suffer from diabetes or you've been diagnosed as pre-diabetic, then you should get your hearing checked regularly. In the event that your audiologist detects hearing loss, then active measures can be pursued, such as using hearing aids, which should allow you to retain as much as your natural hearing ability as possible.

If you or someone you know would like to learn more about hearing loss and how to treat it, please feel free to schedule a consultation or contact one of our representatives today!

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