Have you heard? Hearing problems are twice as common in people with diabetes compared to those without it, according to a study done by investigators at the National Institutes of Health. Also, of the 86 million adults in the U.S. who have prediabetes, the rate of hearing loss is 30 percent higher than in those with normal blood glucose.
About 34.5 million Americans have some type of hearing loss. October is National Protect Your Hearing Month, an important reminder to take steps to preserve your hearing health.
Unfortunately, researchers aren’t quite sure why people with diabetes have a higher rate of hearing loss. It could be that the high blood glucose levels associated with the disease cause damage to the small blood vessels in the inner ear, similar to the way it can damage the eyes and the kidneys. But more research needs to be done.
Because hearing loss occurs slowly over time, you may not notice symptoms. It could be that your family members and friends notice the hearing loss before you do!
Be on the lookout for these signs of hearing loss:
- Frequently asking others to repeat themselves.
- Trouble following conversations that involve more than two people.
- Thinking that others are mumbling.
- Problems hearing in noisy places such as busy restaurants.
- Trouble hearing the voices of women and small children.
- Turning up the TV or radio volume too loud for others who are nearby.
Do any of these apply to you? Talk to your primary care doctor. You may then want to seek help from a hearing specialist like an audiologist, a licensed hearing aid dispenser or a doctor who specializes in hearing problems. From a full hearing exam, you’ll learn more about your hearing loss and what can be done to treat it.