How Are Diabetes and Hearing Loss Interrelated?

While it is common to experience hearing loss due to age or prolonged exposure to loud noises, diabetes also increases your risk for the condition. A study has corroborated this claim through its findings that diabetic patients are more likely to develop hearing loss compared to nondiabetic patients. Let’s talk about how this happens.

How Does Diabetes Affect Your Hearing?

High blood sugar levels resulting from untreated or uncontrolled type 1 or type 2 diabetes can damage your inner ear’s blood vessels and nerve cells, causing hearing impairment. Like diabetic patients, pre-diabetic patients (those with higher blood glucose levels than normal but not high enough to develop type 2 diabetes) also have a 30% increased risk of developing hearing loss.

Also, low blood sugar levels can impact the nerve signals traveling from your inner ear to the brain, thus resulting in hearing loss.

Having diabetes and hearing loss doesn’t mean that abnormal blood sugar levels definitely caused your hearing loss. The reasons for your hearing loss could also include:

  • Structural problem in the ear
  • Chemotherapy medications
  • Family history of hearing loss
  • Foreign object or earwax in the ear
  • Perforated eardrum
  • Viral infection

How Can Diabetic Patients Protect Their Hearing?

Though hearing loss is irreversible, you can help prevent the condition from worsening by exercising regularly. Exercising daily for at least 20 to 30 minutes can help keep your blood sugar levels under control while increasing blood circulation throughout your body, including your ears. This helps the nerve cells and blood vessels in your inner ear function properly, thus protecting your hearing from worsening.

How Can Diabetes-Induced Hearing Loss Be Treated?

Treatment options for diabetes-induced hearing loss include:

  • Hearing Aids – These are electronic devices that increase the volume of incoming sounds to help you hear well.
  • Auditory Brainstem Implants – They are surgically implanted in your brainstem to provide hearing sensations. They are recommended only if your hearing nerve does not function and consequently causes profound hearing loss.
  • Cochlear Implants – They are surgically placed under your inner ear’s skin to stimulate the auditory nerves via electrodes placed in the cochlea to perceive sounds.

You may also need to keep your blood sugar levels in check with your diabetes management plan, which may include a few lifestyle changes, such as eating a healthy, well-balanced diet and following a daily workout routine.

Other treatment options for hearing loss may include:

  • Earwax removal
  • Antibiotics (cures infection-caused hearing loss)
  • Tinnitus markers
  • Vestibular repositioning
  • Rehabilitation

If you have diabetes, it is recommended to have your hearing tested by an audiologist every year, or as soon as you develop symptoms such as trouble hearing or following conversations, difficulty hearing in noisy places, or trouble hearing low-frequency voices. This will help you evaluate your hearing health while detecting abnormalities before they worsen.

How Can Hoffmann Audiology Help?

Diabetes puts you at risk of developing hearing loss, which should be monitored with regular hearing screenings. If you are looking for the best audiology clinic for your hearing evaluation, schedule an appointment with us today at Hoffmann Audiology, Irvine, CA. Our audiologist Dr Chris Hoffmann has over a decade of experience in diagnosing and treating hearing loss.



Chris Lin Hoffmann

Dr. Chris Hoffmann is an audiologist who has been involved in hearing sciences for over 20 years. Her passion for helping people with their hearing led her to establish Hoffmann Audiology hearing clinic. Dr. Hoffmann has more than 14 years of clinical knowledge in hearing testing, hearing aid fittings, and aural rehabilitation.

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