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Is there a Correlation Between Hearing Loss and Diabetes?

by Alexandra Kilpatrick

Diabetes and hearing loss are two of America's most common health issues and it appears that they may be linked, according to recent research.

While nearly 26 million people in the United States have diabetes, approximately 34.5 million people have some type of hearing loss. The similar counts are not a coincidence.

According to a recent report by Diabetes Digest, a Diabetes Association of Pakistan publication, hearing loss is twice as prevalent among diabetics than those not suffering from diabetes.

In addition to the high rate among diabetes sufferers, the rate of hearing loss is 30 percent higher in adults thought to be pre-diabetic than in those with normal blood sugar levels, according to the report.

Researchers believe that over extended periods of time, high blood glucose levels can damage the small blood vessels and nerves in the inner ear and in doing so, damage a diabetic or pre-diabetic adult's hearing capacities considerably.

The report claims that in most diabetes-induced hearing loss cases, the diabetic is below the age of 65. Researchers recommended that these individuals undergo a full hearing exam to help them learn more about their hearing loss and what they could do to treat it.

Researchers also considered that the hearing loss problem could be caused by an ear wax build up, an issue easily resolved by having a trained medical professional remove the build up. In the case of sensorial hearing loss, common in diabetics, the main option is hearing aids.

How to Treat or Prevent Hearing Loss

Hearing loss tends to happen gradually over time, making the symptoms difficult to notice.

However, there are a few common hearing loss signs, including frequently asking others to repeat themselves, having difficulty following conversations between more than two people, thinking that people are mumbling, having trouble hearing in loud places like crowded restaurants or hearing the voices of women and small children and turning up the TV or radio volume too loud for others.

While nearly half (43 percent) of people with hearing loss are over the age of 65, hearing loss can happen at any age, with 29 percent in the 45 to 64 age range, 23 percent ages 18 to 44 and 5 percent below the age of 18.

If you do suspect hearing loss, discuss the problem with your primary care doctor and seek additional help from an audiologist, licensed hearing aid dispenser or other hearing specialist.

While sometimes the hearing loss is simply caused by earwax build-up, a problem solved by asking a doctor to remove the wax, the most common kind of hearing loss is called sensorineural hearing loss, the type usually found with diabetics. The condition is incurable, but most cases can be treated with hearing aids.

If you or someone you know would like to know about your potential to develop hearing loss- especially if you are diabetic, please contact our team of representatives today. They will help you schedule a consultation with a hearing loss professional in your area.

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