Hearing & Diabetes

Woman testing her blood sugar to manage her diabetes

Hearing Loss
and Diabetes

Did you know that diabetes can harm your hearing and your balance? With more than 38 million people in the United States having diabetes, the Centers for Disease Control and the American Diabetes Association recognize the importance of hearing management and monitoring as part of diabetes care.

A recent study by the National Institutes of Health found that hearing loss is twice as common in people with diabetes as it is in those who don’t have diabetes. Also, for those who have prediabetes, the rate of hearing loss is 30% higher than in those with normal blood glucose levels.

Diabetes damages small blood vessels in your inner ear and your vestibular system, which is the part of your inner ear that helps with balance. It can make it harder for signals related to hearing and balance to get to your brain. As a result, hearing loss is more common and can progress faster in people with diabetes. Also, you are more likely to fall if you have diabetes because of damage to your vestibular system as well as any other neuropathy you might have. Additionally, untreated hearing loss, regardless of the cause, actually triples the risk of falling.

The good news is you can take steps to hear well and reduce your risk of falls.

What to do:

Wearing appropriately fit hearing aids may help reduce your risk of falls, cognitive decline, and depression. A baseline hearing test is recommended for all individuals over 55 years old. Make an appointment to have your hearing tested today.