You may have heard that you have twice the chance of having some degree of hearing loss than someone who is not diabetic, which is an alarming piece of information. This puts diabetes and hearing loss at the top in terms of two health concerns in the United States, advises the American Diabetes Association. Did you know that 30 million people have diabetes and 34.5 million people have hearing loss in this country? In fact, now there’s actually been a link proven between the two. Researchers just completed some 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.

Correlation Between Diabetes and Hearing Loss

Factors like old age and a noisy working environment, which have been known to happen to many people, apparently don’t affect the link between diabetes and hearing problems. Many researchers are testing the theory that high blood glucose levels associated with diabetes can harm your inner ear’s sensitive blood vessels, leading to hearing impairment. It’s no secret that diabetics have problems with their eyes, kidneys and feet. Could their hearing also be affected? More research needs to be done in order to reach a more definitive conclusion. While you could, as a diabetic, control your blood sugar levels better so hearing impairment doesn’t happen, it’s not known if this would indeed work. The hearing loss could actually be attributed to the medications and diuretics that diabetics take to reduce their high blood pressure. The link between diabetes and hearing loss is not in question but we don’t have any conclusive answers as to why yet.

Signs and Symptoms of Hearing Loss

Signs to look out for when wondering if you have hearing loss include if you can’t distinguish words within a large noisy crowd, if words are muffled rather than clear, and if you have others repeat themselves over and over. You don’t want to become an introvert and stop engaging social situations just so you don’t get embarrassed, so take action now and see an audiologist for diagnosis and treatment so you don’t put yourself or others at risk. Usually, a friend or partner will tell you if you display signs of hearing impairment. Visit a doctor is you have any symptoms so you can be diagnosed and begin treatment immediately, as you could suffer from some degree of hearing impairment if you have trouble keeping track of conversations with two or more people, constantly only hear mumbling from others, put the volume on the TV or radio way up, or can’t easily pick out the voices of small children or women.

Testing for Diabetes

Are you a diabetic? Have your hearing tested to help researchers determine what the exact correlation is between the two conditions. Ask for a referral to an audiologist for further testing when you’re at the doctor for a checkup. This is so the two conditions and their connection, if any, can be further explored. While diabetes is linked to several health problems, such as heart disease and vision loss, many doctors still neglect to test the hearing of diabetic. Hopefully, that will change.