The Facts About Diabetes and Hearing Loss
Living with diabetes is a complex health issue that can reach far beyond a glucose balance issue. It is estimated that over 37 million people have diabetes, and over 34 million suffer from some form of hearing loss, making these issues two of the most widespread health issues in America. However, these numbers are not mutually exclusive, as they overlap; in fact, people who have diabetes are twice as likely to develop some form of hearing loss. The truth is that diabetes affects almost every level of health throughout the body.
While the exact causes of hearing loss with diabetes are not entirely understood, the correlation between the two is clear. The symptoms of hearing loss can happen so gradually it can be hard to notice. Many times it is friends and family members that notice issues first.
Currently, two theories are being researched, looking for the reasons for the apparent damage to hearing health. It is well known that diabetes contributes to the thickening in the walls of the kidneys, which can lead to acute organ failure. Researchers are exploring this idea because the pathology of the kidneys is similar to the inner ear, and the same effect could be occurring. On the other hand, there is also research into the damage that high glucose levels that can damage blood vessels and other soft tissues. It is theorized that this kind of damage can affect the cochlea inside the inner ear and cause hearing loss.
If you or a loved one is experiencing hearing loss, it’s a good time to contact your doctor. Preventative measures are the best option for dealing with hearing loss if you have diabetes. In either case, your doctor will suggest a hearing test to determine the extent of any issues and what treatments are available to help lessen the damage or even help improve the condition. It is highly recommended that patients diagnosed with diabetes or who are at risk should have regular hearing tests, as early medical intervention offers the best outcome to help prevent or lessen the effects of hearing loss.