Diabetes & Hearing

Did you know hearing loss is twice as common in people with diabetes compared to those without?*

Whilst there are regular eye checks offered for patients with diabetes there is no such facility offered for hearing checks however, there is also increasing evidence that Diabetes has been linked to the development of hearing problems, in the USA In June 2008, a study by the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, found a strong and consistent link between impaired hearing and diabetes.

After analysing the results of hearing tests given to a nationally representative sample of working-age adults in America, the investigators found participants with diabetes or pre-diabetes were more likely to have at least mild hearing loss in their ability to hear low-to-mid and high-frequency tones compared to people without diabetes.

The results remained the same after accounting for major factors known to affect hearing, such as age, noise exposure, income level, and the use of certain medications.

While it is unknown exactly why hearing loss is more common among people with diabetes, autopsy studies of diabetes patients suggest this association is caused by neuropathy (nerve damage), which is a common complication of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

Researchers believe 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, affecting the person’s ability to hear.