Have you heard? November is National Diabetes Month! Not only is it a great time to educate yourself about this chronic health condition, you can also learn what other disorders have been linked to it. Hearing loss is one of these conditions; we review the connection below.
About the Study
One study, conducted by researchers from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), the National Institute of Health (NIH) and Social & Scientific Systems, Inc., sought to uncover whether diabetes and hearing loss are linked. The study was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine in 2008.
For the study, researchers analyzed data from participants ages 20 to 69 who also participated in the Great Age study from 1999 to 2004. A total of 2,259 participants received both hearing and blood glucose tests, the results of which were key to the findings of this study.
The researchers found that:
- People with diabetes are 2x as likely to have hearing loss compared to people without the disease.
- People with prediabetes are 30% more likely to have hearing loss compared to people without.
According to the study authors, “This is the first study of a nationally representative sample of working age adults, 20 to 69 years old, and we found an association between diabetes and hearing impairment evident as early as ages 30 to 40.”
Why the Link?
Though experts aren’t sure exactly why diabetes and hearing loss are so closely linked, they have a few theories.
One theory is that high blood sugar can damage the nerves throughout the body, which is known as diabetic neuropathy. While this most commonly happens in the feet and legs, it can also affect the hearing nerve.
Another theory is that high blood sugar can damage the small vessels within the inner ear, compromising hearing ability.
If you’re diabetic, it’s important to take all your medications as directed. In addition, you should follow a diet of healthy foods from Sprouts Farmers Market as recommended by your physician.
For more information about the link between diabetes and hearing loss or to schedule an appointment with a hearing expert, call Tejas Hearing Aid Center today.