Diabetes and Hearing Loss

LEXINGTON Over 30 million people in the United States have diabetes, and between 90–95% of those have Type 2 diabetes, which can develop at any age. Studies show that hearing loss is twice as common in people with diabetes as compared to those without. And yet, though it is extremely important to monitor one’s hearing to prevent a complication of hearing loss, basic hearing tests are frequently overlooked in routine diabetes care.

Lucinda Batta, AuD, with Bluegrass Hearing Clinic states, “The whole body works together in a careful balance; it is surprising how many systems can affect your hearing. Diabetes can damage your hearing organ much like noise and heart disease. Maintaining a healthy life includes your ears — they are how we interact with the world.”

Diabetes, especially uncontrolled, contributes to hearing loss by damaging the nerves and blood vessels in the ears. The inner ear is a delicate structure and one that people depend on every day. While other parts of the body can accommodate for damaged blood vessels by depending on alternative blood supplies, the ears lack that option. There is no redundancy in the blood supply to the inner ear, meaning that once a blood vessel is damaged, there is no back-up blood supply.

Management of diabetes is crucial. When blood sugar levels are not well controlled, the risk of developing hearing loss increases. Other key factors in controlling diabetes include following a medication regime, keeping A1c levels lower and within the recommended ranges, exercising regularly, maintaining a balanced nutritional diet, and having an annual hearing exam by an audiologist.

Founded by Dr. Deanna Frazier in 1997, Bluegrass Hearing Clinic’s mission is “to prevent, protect, and promote better hearing.” With 11 locations throughout Kentucky, Bluegrass Hearing Clinic provides hearing solutions with state-of-the-art hearing technology in assistive listening devices; noise protection; swimming and custom wireless earbuds; and a range of other device accessories that prevent hearing loss and protect and promote better hearing. With the belief that better hearing is better living, Bluegrass Hearing Clinic is “where better hearing begins.”