Although recent studies neglected to determine a cause and effect relationship, a connection between two leading health concerns in the U.S. has been made. First, take a look at the 30 million people have diabetes, and 34.5 million people have hearing loss in the United States alone. And turns out, they’re related. Interesting studies done this past year highlight that people are twice as likely to have hearing loss if they suffer from diabetes than those who do not have this disease. These studies took into account 20,000 people hailing from U.S., Asia, Brazil and Australia. If you have diabetes, you don’t normally associate it with hearing loss but the two conditions are actually closely related. The American Diabetes Association says both diabetes and hearing loss are two of the highest health concerns in America.

Signs and Symptoms of Hearing Loss

You may get frustrated picking up on background noise when there’s a crowd of people, or hearing muffled sounds instead of clear words when people speak. Are you always saying “what?” or “please repeat yourself”? This is when you should brush up on the signs of hearing loss, such as having trouble keeping track of conversations involving more than two people, failure to pick up on the voices of small children or women, and cranking the volume on the TV or radio. Hearing loss can be embarrassing, sometimes leading to the avoidance of many social situations. Before this happens to you, go to an audiologist for diagnosis and treatment. If not, you could pose a serious health and safety risk to yourself and others.

Correlation Between Diabetes and Hearing Loss

Hearing loss occur in diabetics just like they can suffer from problems with the eyes, kidneys and feet. But to learn more about the connection between the two conditions, more research must be undertaken. Connections like old age and a noisy workplace, which are well known to happen to many people, apparently don’t play into the scenario of diabetes and hearing problems. Although 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; however, the exact cause is still unknown. The high blood glucose levels that are associated with diabetes can harm your inner ear’s sensitive blood vessels. This is one of the factors being explored but conclusive evidence is still yet to come.

Testing for Diabetes

You may hesitate to add one more test to your yearly checkup but ask during your routine health exam for a hearing evaluation. A visit with a trusted audiologist for additional evaluation should be in your near future. Hearing tests are essential to fight against the confusion between the two conditions: diabetes and hearing loss.