Studies Show Higher Rates of Hearing Loss for People with Diabetes

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Studies Show Higher Rates of Hearing Loss for People with Diabetes

Peter Lucier, HIS

Have you been recently diagnosed with diabetes? You are certainly not alone. According to the CDC there are 34.2 million people in the US living with diabetes and 88 million with early conditions, which put people at risk of developing this serious health issue. Aside from serious health effects including cardiovascular disease and damage to the kidney, eyes and skin, many people don’t realize that diabetes also puts your hearing at serious risk. 


Understanding Diabetes

Insulin is a hormone made by the body organ called the pancreas. Insulin aids in turning your blood sugar into energy as well as storing excess in your muscles, fat cells and liver as a reserve for when your body needs it. Diabetes occurs when the body doesn’t produce enough insulin or use the insulin effectively. The problem is that insulin transports important nutrients for your body’s health from your blood into the cells of the body. When your insulin is insufficient to carry nutrients they cannot be delivered to your cells depriving your body and putting many aspects of your health at risk.



About 88 million people are living with prediabetes, which is when your blood sugar levels are high enough to put you at risk for developing prediabetes. The CDC has found that Only 11.6 percent of adults with prediabetes knew they had it, making it important to screen regularly throughout your life for this condition which can begin at any age. The important thing to remember is that with diet and lifestyle changes you can stop prediabetes from developing into Type 2 Diabetes.


Type 1 and 2 Diabetes

The most common type of this condition, affecting people of all ages, type 2 diabetes occurs when your body does not use insulin effectively making it difficult for your body to maintain safe and healthy blood sugar levels. Type 1 diabetes is more common among children and teenagers who do not produce enough insulin in the bloodstream making blood sugar levels extremely high and dangerous. 


Diabetes and Hearing Loss

Hearing loss is a common condition in the US, which can be linked to a number of health concerns including cardiovascular issues, hypertension and diabetes. One in four people in the US are said to suffer from diabetes however it is all too common for this condition to go undiagnosed. A recent study found much higher rates of hearing loss in people with diabetes, which suggests that if you suspect you have hearing loss that there is a much higher chance that diabetes could be an issue as well. In fact the study found that diabetes increased your chance of hearing loss by 50%!


How Diabetes Can Affect Hearing

Researchers theory as to diabetes negative health impact on hearing surrounds what happens to blood when diabetes is an issue. High blood sugar levels not only deprive the body’s cells of important nutrients but also can actually damage cells and nerves. Another component of diabetes is that it affects circulation as it can cause the heart to not deliver enough oxygenated blood to extremities such as the feet and the ears. The ears hear sounds in part by tiny hair cells in the inner ear, which convert sound waves into electrical pulses, which are sent to the brain to be interpreted. These cells are incredibly fragile and easily damaged due to poor blood sugar levels of diabetes. This is especially true of people who have lived with diabetes for years. The damage caused by diabetes to the inner ear is irreversible leaving people with significant hearing loss.


How Can You Fight Diabetes 

The best way to combat diabetes and stop it from developing is to make sure you eat a healthy diet which centers vegetables and fruits while limiting processed sugar and exercise regularly as well as avoiding excessive alcohol and tobacco use. These practices can improve your circulation and keep your entire body health, which of course includes your ears!


Protecting Your Hearing

The problem is that many people don’t even know they have hearing loss for years because it can start slow. If you do have diabetes the risk to your hearing is doubled so it’s a good idea to schedule a hearing test. While there is no way to reverse hearing loss it can be treated in many effective ways. Make an appointment today and find out how!

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