We all know that years of loud noises can contribute to hearing loss. Family history, head trauma, an illness, and even simply aging can all contribute to hearing loss. But there is a surprising connection between a common illness and hearing loss that you may not have been familiar with.
Diabetes is a growing problem within the U.S., affecting nearly 29.1 million Americans (diabetes and prediabetes combined). Type 2 diabetes can very well be prevented and managed through lifestyle habits, such as losing weight, eating well, and exercising. But new research suggests that if left unmanaged it can rob you of your hearing.
Diabetes may contribute to hearing loss
A study published in The Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (JCEM) has found a link between diabetes and hearing loss. Lead author Chika Horikawa said, “The association of hearing impairment with diabetes is controversial, but it is believed that over time, high blood glucose levels can damage vessels…diminishing the ability to hear.”
The findings from the study unveiled that diabetics were twice as likely to suffer from hearing loss compared to individuals who did not have diabetes.
Although this study – along with many others – has found a relationship between diabetes and hearing loss, there is still much information that is unknown. The takeaway here is, in order to prevent hearing loss associated with diabetes, it is wise to control and manage diabetes as best as possible.
Signs and symptoms of hearing loss
Whether you have diabetes or are simply getting older, it’s important to spot the signs and symptoms of hearing loss, so that you can start preventing further damage from occurring to the point where you lose all hearing.
Signs and symptoms of hearing loss include:
- Frequently asking others to repeat themselves
- Difficulty following conversations when two or more individuals are involved
- Perceiving others as mumbling
- Difficulty hearing others in noisy areas like restaurants
- Trouble hearing voices of women and small children
- Turning up the volume on the TV or radio and having others complain it is too loud
Your doctor will recommend you see an audiologist who specializes in hearing in order to determine how bad your hearing has become and next steps to take to prevent it from worsening.