Because various conditions tend to play off each another, it’s really no surprise that diabetes and hearing loss – the top two health problems in America today according to the American Diabetes Association – have been linked. Take a look at the statistics are incredible: 30 million people suffer from diabetes, while 34.5 million people have some degree of hearing loss. Recent studies have shown that you are twice as likely to have hearing loss if you have diabetes than other people without the disease. The recent studies in question concentrated on 20,000 people from various places around the globe, including the U.S., Asia, Brazil and Australia.
Correlation Between Diabetes and Hearing Loss
Certainly these many studies have drawn a link between diabetes and hearing loss, but the fact remains that researchers still aren’t sure exactly why diabetes causes hearing loss or vice versa. One theory as to curbing this correlation? Diabetics should better control their blood sugar levels to reduce the risk of hearing impairment, but this is not proven yet. Even though loud noises contribute hearing loss in many people, a noisy workplace has also been ruled out as a factor in the above studies. The medications and diuretics diabetics take to keep their blood pressure could actually bring on the hearing loss, so that’s something to look into. Could it involve high blood glucose levels that come with the territory with diabetes? These levels can damage the small blood vessels in the inner ear, known to cause hearing impairment. Researchers don’t assume age plays a role in these links, even though it’s been known for awhile now that hearing loss occurs as we age.
Signs and Symptoms of Hearing Loss
Be on alert when looking for signature signs and symptoms of hearing loss so you can get diagnosed and begin treatment immediately. You could suffer from some degree of hearing impairment if you have trouble keeping track of conversations with two or more people, constantly only hear mumbling from others, put the volume on the TV or radio way up, or can’t easily pick out the voices of small children or women. Other signs to look out for include if you can’t distinguish words within a large noisy crowd, if words are muffled rather than clear, and if you have others repeat themselves over and over. You don’t want this to lead to the avoiding of certain social situations just so you don’t get embarrassed, so take action and see an audiologist for diagnosis and treatment so you don’t put yourself or others at risk. Usually, your spouse, partner, friend or family member will alert you to these displays of hearing impairment.
Testing for Diabetes
Hopefully, the results of the studies outlined above will spur more doctors to test for hearing loss in their diabetic patients. This is why you should get your hearing tested at the doctor’s office during your annual diabetic checkup and alert him to the correlation you’ve heard between diabetes and hearing loss. If the results come back showing you need further evaluation, your doctor can send you to an audiologist. Hearing tests are often overlooked at doctor’s visits for adults, but they shouldn’t be any longer in light of these findings.