Hearing loss is the inability to hear normally. People with this condition struggle with hearing a conversation or sounds effortlessly. It can happen to people of all ages due to different factors. Its signs include:

  • difficulty hearing others, either on the phone or in-person conversations
  • asking people to speak slowly or repeat themselves
  • struggling to understand what people are saying
  • assuming others are mumbling
  • turning up the volume of the TV or radio
  • ringing in the ears

Research says hearing loss is twice as likely in diabetes patients. How do uncontrolled blood sugar levels cause this condition? Let us find out!

How does diabetes cause hearing loss?

The ear comprises a complex network of bones, muscles, blood vessels, and nerves. Any form of damage in these parts can lead to hearing impairment.

There is no exact explanation for why diabetes relates to hearing loss. However, research has established one thing – uncontrolled blood sugar can damage the nerves and blood vessels. 

Frequent blood sugar spikes (hyperglycemia) can damage the inner ear’s blood vessels and nerves. On the other hand, low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) also interferes with how nerve signals transport sound from the inner ear to the brain. Both conditions lead to hearing loss.

We need more research to understand the increasing rate of hearing loss in diabetes patients.

Who is at risk of developing diabetes-related hearing loss?

People with uncontrolled blood sugar levels are susceptible to developing hearing loss. In a 2013 study, researchers concluded that hearing loss is more common in people with diabetes than those without. 

According to the ADA (American Diabetes Association), adults with prediabetes are 30% more likely to develop this condition than those with a normal blood sugar level. A 2008 study supports this claim

How to prevent hearing loss if you have diabetes?

Proper blood sugar management is crucial in preventing complications like hearing loss. Here are specific ways to prevent the condition:

  • Get ear checkups every year.
  • Avoid exposure to loud noises, such as watching TV or using hands-free/ ear-plugs with high volume, visiting pubs and clubs that play loud music too often.
  • Ask your doctor if your ongoing medication is causing this problem. Hearing loss can be a side effect of certain drugs.
  • Improve blood circulation and blood flow by exercising often.
  • Manage your weight.