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A definitive link has been detected between diabetes and hearing loss – the number one and number two health concerns in America today, says the American Diabetes Association. This connection is telling because it means one affects that other in pretty conclusive ways. The researchers of recent studies of 20,000 people from various continents around the world, including United States, Asia, Brazil and Australia show that you’re twice as likely to suffer from hearing loss if you also have diabetes than others who don’t have it. The results show the two conditions are indeed related but no one’s sure why. More work has to be done to further a conclusive link. Incredibly, 30 million people have diabetes and 34.5 million people have hearing loss across the nation.

Correlation Between Diabetes and Hearing Loss

There are speculations that high blood glucose levels that are common with diabetes actually hurt the small blood vessels in the inner ear, just like they can harm your eyes, kidneys and feet. As such, more research needs to be conducted to further explore the correlation between the two conditions. Some say that better controlling one’s blood sugar levels may curb the risk of hearing impairment, but again the results are inconclusive right now. Researchers do realize the effects may come from the medications and diuretics that diabetics take to lower their blood pressure. Old age and noisy work environments – surely these contribute to hearing loss. While they do, no link was found between them and diabetics within the confines of this study. Researchers are still confused as to why diabetes causes hearing loss or even vice versa.

Signs and Symptoms of Hearing Loss

The negative effects of hearing loss can indeed affect many areas of your life. You may stop attending parties for fear of embarrassment of asking others to repeat what they said, and it’s certainly a possibility that you’re putting yourself and others at risk in everyday situations. If you don’t get diagnosed and treated by an audiologist can be detrimental, especially if diabetes is at the heart of your situation. This is why you should be on the alert for the many signs and symptoms of hearing loss such as:

  • Cranking the volume on the TV or radio
  • Trouble keeping track of conversations involving multiple people
  • Thinking people are mumbling when they are actually speaking clearly
  • Trouble detecting the voices of small children or women

Testing for Diabetes

It’s important that you speak up and ask for a hearing analysis as part of your next routine health exam. If it comes back questionable, don’t leave without a referral to an audiologist to undergo additional evaluation. As a diabetic, you probably undergo many tests at your doctor visits, and fitting one more in seems like a hassle. But if it will help you understand others and read situations better, it’s best to get it done. With a clearer diagnosis, your doctor can better realize how your diabetic condition relates to your hearing loss.