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Hearing loss in diabetes

There has been a link between diabetes and hearing loss since the 1960s, but no real pinpoint to a possible cause was found until just a few years ago.

In 2008, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) conducted a study that showed hearing loss is about twice as common in adults with diabetes than with those who do not have the disease.

Some researchers suggest that hearing loss in diabetics is due to poor circulation. Elevated blood sugar levels can damage blood vessels which reduces blood flow to certain areas including structures of the inner ear which are highly vascularized and do not have a backup supply of blood flow.

Another theory is that a person with a higher percentage of glycated hemoglobin, or A1c, possesses a greater risk of developing hearing loss in the future.

Diabetes is becoming an very common disease (nearly one in 10 people are affected by it), making it a larger contributor to hearing loss. According to Diabetes Australia 280 Australians develop diabetes every day so if you do have diabetes it is a good idea to get your hearing tested regularly and let your hearing practitioner know.

What else can you do? You can lower your risk of developing diabetes by exercising regularly and eating healthily, this will keep your A1c levels low. Also, don't smoke! Smoking increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, which can also increase your risk for hearing damage. If diabetes is already present, moderate your blood glucose levels with insulin or oral medication, whichever is required based on the type of diabetes. Reducing diabetic-related health complications can minimize the risk of developing other health problems, including hearing loss.

To read the full article about diabetes and hearing loss click here.