Diabetes and hearing loss are two of the most common health concerns in Australia and research has shown that there is a link between these two conditions.
Did you know that if you have diabetes, you are twice as likely to acquire a hearing loss compared to those without diabetes?
There are three types of diabetes; type 1, type 2 and gestational diabete – all of those can have a negative effect on hearing and can cause hearing loss. Often it is a sudden hearing loss that develops quickly, and it can affect anyone with diabete, regardless of age. It is important to remember that this risk of hearing loss is not restricted to any age group or only those exposed to loud noisy environments.
Investigations into the link between hearing loss and diabete explain that the high blood sugar levels people experience with diabetes can cause damage to the small hair cells in the inner ear.
The tiny hair cells in the inner ear require good blood circulation to operate at their best. These cells translate the noise that our ears collect into electrical impulses that need to be interpreted by the brain to recognise the sound.
So, when blood cells and the blood supply area are affected in the inner ear, the hair cells in our inner ears are not working optimally. These hair cells do not regenerate and damage to them is permanent. This causes a sensorineural hearing loss which cannot be reversed.
Although hearing loss caused by diabetes cannot be reversed, steps can be taken to prevent this hearing loss from developing. The most important component to protecting your hearing with diabetes is living a healthy lifestyle. It is crucial that you stay on top of your medications and treatment plans, following the directions of your health care providers closely.