What is the connection between hearing loss and diabetes?

Health is the new wealth. If you don’t have a healthy body, and mind, then you won’t be able to enjoy what you have worked hard for all your life. Malaysia currently has the highest rate of diabetes of any country in Asia. This is one of the highest in the world and the rate is rising. According to the National Diabetes Institute (NaDI), ‘statistics suggest that almost half of Malaysians do not know they have diabetes. Most of the time Type 2 diabetes does not have any symptoms at all until you develop a heart attack, stroke or kidney failure.’ Diabetes may also cause hearing loss.

Diabetes and hearing loss

In a 2008 study conducted by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), diabetic participants were found to be more than twice as likely to have mild to moderate hearing loss than those without the disease. The occurrence of high-frequency hearing loss was more prevalent in diabetics (54%) than in non-diabetics (32%).

Further research has supported these findings with a second study concluding that diabetics are more likely to have hearing loss than those without the disease, regardless of their age.

The link between diabetes and hearing loss is not yet clearly established. Scientists are still not sure why diabetes negatively impacts your sense of hearing. Research has suggested that high blood glucose levels cause damage to the small blood vessels in the inner ear. Hair cells of the inner ear rely on good circulation to maintain health. These hair cells, ‘stereocilia’, are responsible for translating the sounds our ears collect into electrical impulses which they send to the brain to interpret as recognisable sound. Stereocilia do not regenerate. Once they are damaged or die, your hearing is permanently affected.

How to protect your hearing if you have diabetes

Although sensorineural hearing loss is permanent you can still protect your existing hearing.

  • Turn down the volume on personal electronic devices
  • Protect your ears from excessive noise with headphones or disposable earplugs
  • Take sufficient, gentle daily exercise to improve body circulation and blood flow
  • Keep your body weight at a manageable level by controlling your diet and volume of consumption

At Clarisound we will ask you to share your medical history with us when you attend your initial, free consultation. Don’t forget to let us know if you are a diabetic, or prediabetic. We can then help you to find a good solution for your hearing loss and restore your overall health and well being.