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Hearing loss and diabetes

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While diabetes has long been recognised as a contributor to visual impairment, its connection to hearing loss has only been well researched and mentioned in recent years.  In 2008 the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) identified a connection between diabetes and hearing loss, mentioning that clients diagnosed with diabetes are more susceptible to hearing loss than those clients without the diagnosis.  The study further supported the fact that individuals with elevated blood glucose levels, who have not yet developed diabetes, are 30 percent more likely to suffer from hearing loss than those individuals with normal blood glucose levels cheap hearing aids Perth

In more recent studies published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, scientists reported that younger diabetics have an even higher risk of hearing loss than older adults.  Dr Horikawa and his colleagues from Niigata University in Japan, who did a meta-analysis involving 13 studies including 20,194 participants, reported that the risk for individuals under 60, was 2.61 times higher than the normal control group and for adults over the age of 60, 1.58 times higher  Tinnitus retraining therapy Perth

Researchers in India further reported that individuals who present with poorly controlled diabetes have a significant degree of hearing loss in the higher frequencies, compared to individuals with well-controlled diabetes.


Health professionals believe diabetes affects hearing in the following ways:

  • ·High blood glucose levels produced by diabetes cause chemical changes in blood vessels and nerves in the inner ear, affecting the body’s ability to transmit sound
  • ·Diabetes causes the walls of the cochlea to thicken and lose hair cells.

The value of this information is to make health professionals aware of the fact that:

  • ·Not only older diabetic clients have to be screened and possibly treated for hearing loss
  • ·Uncontrolled diabetic clients should especially be warned and screened for hearing loss
  • ·Clients with glucose intolerance, who are not formally classified as diabetic clients,  are also at risk for early onset of sensorineural hearing loss
  • ·Prevention is always better than cure


For more information on diabetes and hearing, please contact your local audiologist at Western Hearing Services.


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