Hearing Health

Diabetes and Hearing Loss: Connection and Tips for Better Hearing Health

Diabetes and Hearing Loss

It’s commonly known that diabetes can cause kidney and heart problems. But did you know that it can also affect your hearing and sense of balance? Learn more about the connection between hearing loss and diabetes and what you can do for better hearing health.

Hearing loss and diabetes are two of America’s most common health concerns and there is a link between the two conditions. According to a study funded by the National Institutes of Health, hearing loss is about twice as common in adults with diabetes compared to those who are not affected by the disease. While more research is needed to fully understand the link between diabetes and hearing loss, it’s known that high blood sugar can damage blood vessels throughout the body, including your ears. Another complication of diabetes is nerve damage, and if it affects the auditory nerves, hearing loss can occur.

Tips for people with diabetes to protect their hearing

Get your ears checked every year

Hearing loss associated with diabetes is often sudden and can affect anyone at any age, so it is imperative to have a hearing test annually. The earlier hearing loss is detected, the more effective treatment options, such as hearing aids, will be. If you notice a change in your ability to hear under certain conditions, such as at a restaurant or in a loud environment, go for a check-up as soon as you can. Your hearing healthcare professional can explain everything you need to know about your hearing and work with you to improve your hearing health.

Use hearing aids, if recommended

While hearing loss is irreversible, today’s hearing aids can dramatically enhance your ability to hear and engage with others, hugely improving your quality of life. If hearing aids are recommended for you, be sure not to wait too long before you start wearing them. You can discuss all your needs with an audiologist to find the perfect device for you.

Keep your blood sugar under control

Your blood sugar levels can not only affect your heart, eyes, and nerves, but also your hearing health. Work with your doctor to monitor your blood sugar and take appropriate medicines as prescribed.

Maintain a healthy lifestyle

A healthy lifestyle benefits hearing health, even for people without diabetes. Maintaining a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and not smoking all support your ability to hear. Smoking and obesity can both significantly increase the risk of hearing loss.

Protect your ears

As everyone is at risk of noise-induced hearing loss, properly protecting your ears and avoiding the causes of hearing loss such as loud noise is important. Carry disposable earplugs with you, especially when you know you’ll be somewhere noisy. Keep the volume on your electronic devices low and limit your use of headphones and ear buds.

Hearing loss can be frustrating for you and your family and can affect your quality of life. If you have diabetes and you think you’re experiencing hearing loss, it’s important to see an audiologist right away. They can work with you on your journey towards better hearing health. To get your hearing tested, book an appointment for a hearing evaluation now.

About Dr. Marie Vetter-Toalson Au.D.

Dr. Marie Vetter-Toalson Au.D. is the owner of Chicago Hearing Services and a Doctor of Audiology dedicated to empowering her patients and the public with greater knowledge and education around hearing health.