Diabetes and Hearing Loss

By: Kelly Warf, Au.D.

Hearing loss affects 466 million people worldwide while diabetes affects 422 million people worldwide (World Health Organization). Diabetes and hearing loss have more in common; individuals with diabetes are twice as likely to develop hearing loss. What’s the connection?

Diabetes can lead to nerve damage; overtime high blood sugar levels can damage small blood vessels and nerves. This can lead to nerve damage in the eyes, kidneys, hands, feet, and ears. Yes, you read that correctly; hearing loss can be caused by diabetes. The effect of diabetes on hearing has been long researched but not well publicized.

Due to this mechanism, hearing loss is twice as common in people who have diabetes compared to individuals the same age who don’t have diabetes. If you have diabetes, it’s important to do the following to protect your hearing.

  • keep blood sugar levels close to target levels
  • annual hearing checks with an audiologist
  • protect hearing in loud environments and/or avoid loud sounds
  • ask your doctor whether any medicines you’re taking can damage your hearing and what other options are available

To schedule a consultation with our otolaryngologist or audiologist call 847-685-1000.

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