What is the relationship between diabetes and hearing loss?
The relationship between diabetes and hearing loss and why diabetes increases the risk of hearing loss is still unclear. But hearing impairment has been shown to be around twice as common in adults with diabetes, also called diabetes mellitus, compared to those without the disease. Both diabetes type 1 and type 2 increase the risk of hearing loss.
Can diabetes cause hearing loss?
How does diabetes cause hearing loss? Medical science has still not found the explanation for why people with diabetes are more likely to get a hearing loss. A theory among scientists is that prolonged high blood glucose levels may lead to hearing loss by affecting the supply of blood or oxygen to the tiny nerves and blood vessels of the inner ear. Over time, the nerves and blood vessels become damaged and this affects the person’s ability to hear.
Several studies confirm the relationship
During the last decades, several studies have found a relationship between diabetes and hearing loss.
An American study found that hearing loss is about twice as prevalent among diabetics as in the general population.
Another study from the US found that moderate hearing loss is more common in patients with type 2 diabetes. A third study also from the US found that if diabetes in women is left uncontrolled, they are more likely to develop a greater degree of hearing loss.
A Japanese study found that impaired hearing is twice as common among people with diabetes compared with those without diabetes. The study also reveals that younger diabetics are at a higher risk than older adults.
I have diabetes. Do I have a hearing loss?
What should I do if I have diabetes and think I might have a hearing loss? If you have diabetes and think that you may have a hearing loss, you should contact a hearing professional and have your hearing tested. Read more about the hearing test.