Diabetes is a huge health concern across the country. An estimated 30 million American adults have been diagnosed with the disease and another 84 million have prediabetes, a condition that increases your risk of developing diabetes within the next five years. There are a number of health risks associated with diabetes and hearing loss is one of them.
How Is Diabetes Associated with Hearing Loss?
Diabetic patients deal with a number of serious and potentially debilitating health issues including:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Kidney failure
Researchers have also discovered a strong link between diabetes and hearing loss.
While reason for this correlation isn’t entirely clear, researchers have some ideas. They theorize that the elevated blood glucose levels are to blame. Just as high glucose levels cause damage to the eyes and kidneys, they may also harm the blood vessels of the inner ear. This can damage the hair cells of the cochlea and result in permanent hearing loss. Another possibility revolves around diabetes contributing to a thickening of the walls in the kidneys, which can lead to organ failure. Because the pathology of the inner ear is similar to that of the kidneys, it is possible that the walls of the inner ear could experience the same effects.
Statistics show that those with diabetes are twice as likely to experience hearing loss. And those with prediabetes are 30 percent more likely to develop hearing loss compared to those without the disease.
Prevention Is Key
Roughly 25 percent of diabetic patients are undiagnosed, meaning that hearing loss has the potential to become a widespread and serious problem. Early medical intervention offers the best long-term outlook for preventing hearing loss or lessening its effects. Experts recommend anyone diagnosed with diabetes or prediabetes, or who are at risk for the disease should undergo regular hearing screenings.
For more information on the link between diabetes and hearing loss, or to schedule a hearing screening, contact Victory Hearing & Balance today.