According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), diabetes and hearing loss are two of America’s most widespread health concerns.
According to a study funded by the NIH, hearing loss is more than twice as prevalent in patients with diabetes as in those without the disease. It is believed that over time high glucose levels can cause damage to the blood vessels in the cochlea and its hair cells (inner ear), diminishing your ability to hear. The ADA also mentions that the rate of hearing loss is 30% higher in those individuals who have pre-diabetes compared to those with normal blood glucose.
The existence of diabetes-related hearing loss increases the possibility of a corresponding condition, diabetic vestibulopathy. What this means is impaired balance and gait in diabetic patients has been attributed to impaired proprioception. Along with the prevalence of neuropathy in the feet and impaired vision, this may cause the increased possibility of falls.
The 2013 Standards of Medical Care from the American Diabetes Association has been revised based on new and stronger evidence. These guidelines recommend assessment and treatment for common diabetes-associated complications including hearing impairment. The ADA recommends patients getting screened by an audiologist every two to three years if under age 50, and every year if over 50 or if hearing loss is prevalent.
Because hearing loss progresses slowly over time, the symptoms of hearing loss can often be hard to notice. In most cases, family members notice symptoms of hearing loss before the person experiencing it.
At Silicon Valley Hearing, we encourage those with diabetes and pre-diabetes to routinely get their hearing screened by an audiologist. Call us today for a basic hearing screening.*
*Basic hearing screening is NOT a full comprehensive hearing evaluation. A basic hearing screening will determine if you need a comprehensive hearing evaluation and possible medical consultation with your primary care physician or otolaryngologist.