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What You Should Know About Diabetes and Hearing Loss

Written by: Dr. Jacki Reider

Diabetes and hearing loss are two of America’s most widespread health concerns. Nearly 26 million people in the U.S. have diabetes, and about 36 million have hearing loss in one or both ears.

The link between diabetes and hearing loss is becoming better understood with ongoing research. Individuals with diabetes are twice as likely to suffer from hearing loss as those without diabetes. The reason for the connection is that the inner ear is a blood and fluid filled organ. The function of hearing depends on small blood vessels that feed the structures and nerves of the inner ear. Over time, the high blood-sugar levels associated with diabetes can damage the blood vessels and cause permanent damage to the inner ear.

Because of this link, the American Diabetes Association recommends that you get your hearing tested if you are diabetic or pre- diabetic, even if you do not think you have any trouble hearing. Hearing sensitivity can change gradually over time, and signs of hearing loss often go unnoticed. Detecting, diagnosing, and treating hearing loss early prevents depriving the inner ear structures and the brain from sound. If you have diabetes, it would be beneficial to establish a relationship with an audiologist to have annual hearing tests completed to monitor your hearing.'

If you or someone you know suspects a hearing loss, please contact us at (800) 787-HEAR