Diabetes and Your Hearing Health: What You Should Know

Diabetes is a fairly common disease. It’s estimated that 30 million people have diabetes in the United States. According to the CDC, roughly 90 – 95% of people with diabetes have type 2 diabetes. 

Unmanaged diabetes can impact your hearing. This is why it’s incredibly important to be vigilant and take potential symptoms seriously. We’ve put together a few things to keep an eye out for when it comes to your hearing and diabetes. 

Hearing Loss and Diabetes – How Does Diabetes Affect My Hearing?

When we’re handling any stage of diabetes, the changes our bodies make can be unpredictable and hard to process. If diabetes is new to you or someone you know, it can be scary to process all the changes that may be taking place. While the things you should be aware of are numerous, one big change to pay attention to can be changes to your hearing. 

Results of research conducted by The National Institutes of Health (NIH) found that adults with diabetes were twice as likely to have a hearing loss. This is when compared to adults without diabetes. 

“Hearing loss may be an under-recognized complication of diabetes. As diabetes becomes more common, the disease may become a more significant contributor to hearing loss… Our study found a strong and consistent link between hearing impairment and diabetes using a number of different outcomes,” senior author Catherine Cowie, Ph.D., of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) said.

How Does Diabetes Cause Hearing Loss?

Currently, researchers have not identified what causes hearing loss in people with diabetes. Research is increasingly pointing to the damage that diabetes can potentially cause in our blood vessels and nerves. High blood sugar (A1c) levels can cause this damage. 

Our auditory system is made up of a network of nerves and blood vessels. If diabetes results in damage to our auditory system, it can impact your hearing. In turn, this can result in a hearing loss. Damage to our auditory system can also impair our balance. This can result in dizziness, vertigo, and potentially increase the risk of a fall or accident. 

If you have diabetes and struggle to manage your blood sugar levels, you may be at higher risk of hearing loss. Reduce your risk by following the treatment plan outlined by your primary healthcare physician. Make sure that you continue to monitor your diabetes. 

How Can You Protect Your Hearing?

If you have diabetes, you can help reduce the chances of hearing loss by: 

  • Booking an annual hearing assessment
  • Following your diabetes treatment plan 
  • Taking your medication as prescribed
  • Monitoring your blood sugar levels
  • Reducing high blood pressure
  • Exercising regularly
  • Managing your weight and eating healthy

Managing your diabetes is one of the best ways to help protect your hearing. Additionally, understanding the signs and symptoms of hearing loss can help you identify any changes to your hearing. 

Need Help? Contact Us Today!

If you have had a traumatic brain injury in the past, keep an eye on your hearing. If you notice changes to your hearing, make sure you let your doctor know about your TBI. This can help inform the correct course of treatment to help. 
If you are due a hearing assessment, please get in touch with our hearing healthcare specialists. To book an appointment, call Regional Hearing and Balance Center on 208-497-3596 or click here to book a complimentary hearing assessment.

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The purpose of this hearing assessment and/or demonstration is for hearing wellness and to determine if the consumer may benefit from using hearing aids, which may include selling and fitting hearing aids. Products demonstrated may differ from products sold. Assessment conclusion is not a medical diagnosis and further testing may be required to diagnose hearing loss. The use of any hearing aid may not fully restore normal hearing and does not prevent future hearing loss. Hearing instruments may not meet the needs of all hearing-impaired individuals.