Diabetics urged to have their hearing tested

Research shows that hearing loss is about twice as common in adults with Diabetes compared to those who do not have the disease. Yet, hearing checks are often not part of the regular management plan for diabetics. Diabetes is known to damage small blood vessels found in organs such as the heart, kidneys and eyes. It is also a medical cause of hearing loss.

“Hearing loss is not usually recognised as a complication of diabetes,”  “However, we regularly work with patients who notice deterioration in hearing sensitivity after being diagnosed with diabetes. Just like the eyes, the organ of hearing is dependent on small blood vessels and nerves to function effectively.”

The inner ear is responsible for hearing and balance.  It is filled with blood vessels and comprises of approximately 15,500 hair cells or nerve endings arranged by frequency.  When sound waves stimulate the cells, vibrations are converted into electrical currents which our hearing nerves carry to the brain. The inner ear relies on a rich blood supply for effective functioning of the hair cells.  Over time, high blood sugar levels that characterize diabetes may damage the small blood vessels and nerve endings that assist with hearing, resulting in permanent hearing loss. Managing diabetes effectively can help prevent diabetes related hearing loss.  If already experiencing hearing loss, controlling blood sugar can prevent it from getting worse.

“In addition to monitoring blood sugar we urge people to have their hearing tested regularly,”  “An unaddressed hearing loss can impact significantly on a person’s quality of life and cognitive function adding to the challenge of coping with everyday life as a diabetic. The onset of hearing loss can be very gradual. In many cases, patients with mild to moderate hearing loss may not be aware of the hearing loss. If you suspect you or a loved one has hearing loss, speak to a qualified Audiologist.”

Barbara Young, Chief Executive of Diabetes UK says, “Right now, over 3.7 million people are living with diabetes, and there are a further 7 million people at high risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. We’re here to support each and every one of them. During Diabetes Week we’re urging people to reach out and make a connection with others so as many people as possible can learn about diabetes – for example how you can reduce your risk of developing it, what the symptoms are and just how serious a condition it is.

If you have any questions about hearing loss contact Hidden Hearing.

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