Diabetes is known as a type of disease where the blood glucose levels in the body are affected. In type 1 diabetes, the pancreas no longer manufactures insulin wherein type 2 diabetes, the pancreas makes insulin, but the body rejects it. Diabetes has been found to affect an estimated 10.7% of the adult population. Some individuals may have diabetes and may not even be aware that they have it.
Statistics show diabetic patients are at higher risk of developing hearing loss than those who do not have diabetes. That doesn’t mean that everyone with diabetes will experience hearing loss. However, it does mean that those with diabetes are much more prone to losing some of their hearing as a result of their diabetes diagnosis.
People with diabetes typically experience a myriad of complications.
The majority of these complications will be related to cardiovascular disease and high cholesterol, but there is a reason to believe that diabetes may lead to hearing loss as well.
Researchers over the years have not been able to note a specific link between diabetes and hearing impairment conclusively. However, data examinations have been done to say that there is potential for someone’s hearing to be affected if they have diabetes.
How Does Diabetes Cause Hearing Loss?
The link between hearing loss and diabetes is based on several things the first one is circulation. Tiny blood vessels and nerves in the inner ear are responsible for allowing us to hear. These delicate highways can become scarred and damaged irreparably from the high blood sugar levels associated with both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes.
The second one is due to the lack of a protein called keratin. This protein serves an important purpose by bonding to the ear canal and creating a protective layer. This is important for two reasons:
- it prevents the inner ear canal from becoming overly stimulated, and
- it makes ear wax to move outward for easier removal.
Epithelial tissue within the ear canal can also become damaged from diabetes and high blood sugar. A person with this complication will notice an increased sensitivity to plastics, such as those used in hearing aids. Because of this sensitivity, these individuals are much more prone to developing any of a host of irritations and infections including yeast.
A common misconception is that only the elderly suffer from this condition. But the fact is anyone can have a level of hearing loss… even children. Since it is not a common thought about complication, the disease can attack this area without warning and cause significant damage quickly.
People with diabetes are then encouraged to maintain stable glucose levels in their body based on guidelines detailed by the American Diabetes Association. People who do not have diabetes but know someone who does are encouraged to inform them of the potential risks that diabetes may cause hearing. With extensive studies being done over the past few years, it can be said hearing loss can result from an individual having type 2 diabetes.