Guess what? Hearing loss and diabetes are connected. Just like diabetics suffer from vision loss and foot problems, they also can suffer from hearing impairment as well. You possess twice the chance of having some degree of hearing loss than someone who is not diabetic. Researchers just reported studies of 20,000 people from the United States, Asia, Brazil and Australia to determine whether diabetes and hearing loss are intertwined. The answer is yes but researchers still don’t know why this is true. This is an incredible finding, but not surprising considering diabetes and hearing loss are in the top two when it comes to health concerns in the United States, says the American Diabetes Association. On top of that, 30 million people have diabetes and 34.5 million people have hearing loss in this country.

Correlation Between Diabetes and Hearing Loss

Although one way to stop this correlation in its tracks is to do a better job of controlling blood sugar levels in diabetics so hearing impairment doesn’t happen, not enough is known about the causes yet for this to be a an office suggestion. Because diabetics are prescribed many medications and diuretics related to lowering their blood pressure, no one knows if this could actually be causing the hearing loss. While the link between diabetes and hearing loss is not what’s at stake here, the exact reason why is still unknown. The high blood glucose levels that are associated with diabetes can harm your inner ear’s sensitive blood vessels. This is one of the factors being explored but conclusive evidence is still yet to come. Hearing loss occur in diabetics just like they can suffer from problems with the eyes, kidneys and feet. But to learn more about the connection between the two conditions, more research must be undertaken. Old age and a noisy working environment, according to researchers – well known to cause hearing loss – don’t seem to play into the scenario of diabetes and hearing problems.

Signs and Symptoms of Hearing Loss

You must educate yourself and others with the signs and symptoms of hearing loss, which can include difficulty following conversations involving multiple people, trouble with perceiving others’ conversations and only hearing mumbling, problems deciphering between the voices of small children or women, and the need to put the volume on the TV or radio up way too loud. In addition, you could have trouble distinguishing words against background noise or a loud crowd, with the need to ask others to repeat themselves and hearing just a muffling of sounds. If you don’t get diagnosed and treated by an hearing instrument specialist, you may find yourself staying away from social situations. There’s even a danger to your safety and that of others, such as while driving a car, for example, if you can’t hear well. You may not realize you have a problem until a spouse or close friend mentions their concerns, so take their advice and go to the doctor’s.

Testing for Diabetes

Being sure to get your hearing tested at the doctor’s office during your annual diabetic checkup is imperative in order to help researchers find the link between these two debilitating conditions. If the results come back showing you need further evaluation, your doctor can refer you to an hearing instrument specialist. Hearing tests, often overlooked at doctor’s visits for adults, should be more widespread. With any luck, the results of these current studies will encourage more doctors to test for hearing loss in their diabetic patients.