FAQ – A nurse told my husband that his hearing loss was because of his diabetes, is this true?

FAQ – A nurse told my husband that his hearing loss was because of his diabetes, is this true?

A great question!  Thank you to Mrs. Alyward from Windsor, NS for this question.

The nurse is on the right track; yes hearing loss has been linked to a number of health concerns, including Diabetes. Diabetes is a metabolic disease that has well known complications including vision loss, kidney failure, and loss of sensation in the feet, particularly if the diabetes is poorly controlled. Routine monitoring of these systems helps detect and address deficits early.  Less attention is given to the association between diabetes and hearing loss.

Hearing loss is more prevalent in people with diabetes.  Studies have shown that diabetes damages the inner ear and damage to the inner ear leads to hearing loss.  Like many organs that become impaired in people with diabetes, the association with hearing loss is likely due to the effects of elevated blood sugar and inflammatory changes in small blood vessels and nerves in the auditory system.

Routine audiological evaluation in diabetic patients allows early detection of hearing loss, which can improve communication and quality of life.  While it is recommended that everyone have an audiological evaluation it is especially important for individuals newly diagnosed with diabetes.  Undetected hearing loss can lead to depression, isolation and can put a strain on relationships with family and friends.

Hearing loss is not merely for seniors or those with noise exposure but is also associated with other medical conditions.  There is emerging evidence for the association between hearing loss and many health conditions.  The prevention of hearing loss is yet another reason to pursue a healthy lifestyle.

For more information on other health concerns linked to hearing loss check out our link: https://hearinginstitute.ca/hearing-loss/hearing-your-health/