Scientists have long suspected a link between diabetes and hearing loss, but not until recently has a study actually uncovered data to support that idea.
The National Institute of Health found that diabetes is twice as common in people with diabetes compared to the general hearing loss population, in a 2012 study. The same study also found that people who are in a pre-diabetic state are at a 30% higher risk for developing hearing loss.
No one can definitively say why this link exists.
The major theory about the link between diabetes and hearing loss:
Diabetes is a metabolic disorder that affects blood glucose levels in the body. In normal individuals, a lining on the inside of blood vessel walls absorbs blood glucose. However, in diabetics, the overload of blood glucose damages the inner lining and breaks down blood vessel integrity. This breakdown leads to poor circulation in the legs as well as vision and kidney problems. Tiny, broken blood vessels in the ears due to the effect of diabetes may also lead to hearing loss. But this effect has not been proven and is still a theory.
If you have diabetes and think you may be developing hearing loss, here are some things to look out for.
5 signs that you might have hearing loss:
- Everyone sounds like they’re mumbling
- Small children and women’s voices seem particularly hard to hear
- Family and friends complain that the TV or radio volume is too loud
- You avoid busy public places like restaurants because it’s hard to carry on a conversation there
- Family and friends get frustrated having to repeat themselves constantly
Hearing loss as a result of diabetes is treatable through the use of hearing aids.
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