There’s an overlap in two major groups in the U.S.: those with diabetes and those with hearing loss. This stat says it all: 30 million people have diabetes in this county, along with 34.5 million people who have hearing loss. Many of these are the same people, suffering from both conditions. It turns out, these two conditions are often related. Interesting studies done this past year highlight that people have double the chance of incurring hearing loss if they suffer from diabetes over those who do not have this disease. These studies were performed on 20,000 people living in the United States, Asia, Brazil and Australia. If you have diabetes, you don’t normally associate it with hearing loss but the two conditions are actually closely related. The American Diabetes Association says both diabetes and hearing loss are two of the highest health epidemics in America.
Correlation Between Diabetes and Hearing Loss
Researchers are dedicated to doing more work to further explore why the two conditions are related. Does one cause the other? Age alone does not appear to be the mitigating factor, however – even though it is well documented that hearing loss can deteriorate over the years. Some say that better controlling one’s blood sugar levels may curb the risk of hearing impairment, but again the results are inconclusive at this time. Working in a noisy environment was ruled out in the case of hearing loss in diabetes – another factor in this condition. However, it should be noted that many diabetics take medications and diuretics to lower their blood pressure, which may have an effect on the hearing loss.
Signs and Symptoms of Hearing Loss
If you’ve stopped going to social gatherings because you’re unsure what people are saying, you may have a hearing problem, diabetic or not. It can be hard to hear clear words against a loud backdrop of noise but if his is the case, get a test. Failure to get diagnosed and treated by an audiologist can be detrimental, especially if diabetes is to blame. This is why you should be proactive and be wary of signs and symptoms of hearing loss. Do you experience any of this?
- Difficulty following conversations involving multiple people, perceiving others’ conversations as mumbling
- Trouble with detecting the voices of small children or women
- The need to put the volume on the TV or radio up too loud for others near you
Testing for Diabetes
The hope for the future of diabetes and hearing loss is that doctors can become advocates for testing for hearing in all their patients regularly to help researchers establish a possible connection. A standard hearing test should be part of your routine testing, and a referral given for an audiologist right away. Not only will you be giving researchers much-needed information on the relationship between diabetes and hearing loss, you’ll be helping yourself hear better.