Hearing Loss Is Common in People with Diabetes
Hearing loss is a common problem caused by aging, disease, heredity, and noise. Approximately, 17 percent of American adults — 36 million people — report some degree of hearing loss.
Diabetes is a group of diseases marked by high levels of blood glucose resulting from defects in insulin production, insulin action, or both. Affecting nearly 21 million people in the United States, Diabetes is a major cause of heart disease and stroke. It is also the most common cause of blindness, kidney failure, and lower limb amputations in adults.
Hearing loss is about twice as common in adults with diabetes compared to those who do not have the disease, according to a new study funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). “Hearing loss may be an under-recognized complication of diabetes. As diabetes becomes more common, the disease may become a more significant contributor to hearing loss,” said senior author Catherine Cowie, Ph.D., of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), who suggests that people with diabetes should consider having their hearing tested. A strong and consistent link between hearing impairment and diabetes is evident.
Adults with pre-diabetes, whose blood glucose is higher than normal but not high enough for a diabetes diagnosis, had a 30 percent higher rate of hearing loss compared to those with normal blood sugar tested after an overnight fast.
It is believed that that high blood sugar levels may lead to hearing loss by damaging the nerves and blood vessels of the inner ear. Autopsy studies of diabetes patients have shown evidence of such damage. This is similar to the way in which damage to eyes and kidneys are caused by high blood glucose levels.
If you or a loved one, are experiencing hearing loss, call your local Audiologist today.
Signs of Hearing Loss
- Frequently asking others to repeat themselves.
- Difficulty following conversations when in a group.
- Turning up the TV volume too loud for others nearby.
- Trouble hearing voices of women and young children.
- Problems hearing in noisy places, i.e. busy restaurants
- Thinking that others are mumbling or speaking softly.