A study by NIH recently concluded via their research that hearing loss is twice as common in people with diabetes. Their research helped draw attention to the potential link between these two common conditions. In the U.S., there are roughly 30 million people with diabetes and 84 million with pre-diabetes. Of these individuals, approximately 34.5 million have some sort of Hearing Loss. And there’s plenty of overlap occurring between the two conditions. [source: https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/hearing-loss-common-people-diabetes]
It is still unclear exactly how having diabetes could cause hearing loss, and more research is needed. However, recent studies have highlighted that high blood sugar (A1c levels) can damage blood vessels and nerves. This could also happen within the auditory system, thereby potentially impacting an individual’s hearing.
The importance of managing blood sugar levels is not only to help manage diabetes, but to reduce an individual’s risk of developing a hearing loss. Studies have also shown that women with diabetes need to take extra care because they tend to experience a greater loss of hearing.
Individuals who are at higher risk should also be aware that damage to the sensitive auditory system can also increase the risk of falling by causing balance or dizziness symptoms.
Sugar and Tinnitus
Of course we already know that too much sugar is bad for us, and those with diabetes should be monitoring their intake. But did you know that the American Tinnitus Association has reported that some people have found eating foods with high sugar content has increased the severity of their tinnitus? They recommend monitoring how your hearing and any tinnitus is impacted after eating something sweet. By monitoring foods consumed, and the impact on tinnitus, individuals can help to create a food diary tailored to their individual sensitivities.
What can you do?
If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, there are a number of steps that you can take to reduce likelihood of a hearing loss:
- Have a yearly hearing test
- Follow your medication plan
- Monitor your blood sugar closely
- Exercise daily if you can
- Manage your weight and eat healthily
- Take steps to reduce high blood pressure
- Reducing or stopping smoking can improve both conditions
- Get to know the common signs of hearing loss
It’s truly remarkable how interconnected our bodies are. Staying on top of your yearly health checks gives you the best chance to stay in the best shape possible. If you know it’s time to book a hearing check, call us today on 864-325-3584 or click here to request an appointment.