Diabetes Self-Management Blog

The connection between diabetes and hearing loss has, in the past, been somewhat sketchy and tentative. In an article we published two years ago here at DiabetesSelfManagement.com, the notion of diabetes causing hearing loss was described as controversial — and it probably still is. But thanks to a new analysis of the evidence available, that controversy may be fading.

Earlier this month, the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism published a meta-analysis on diabetes and hearing loss, which combined the results of 13 previous studies. The new study looked at only one type of hearing loss, sensorineural hearing loss, which involves damage to the inner ear. (It is believed that diabetes causes this type of hearing loss, which can affect how sound is picked up and processed even if the sound is amplified, such as by using a hearing aid.) Researchers, based at Niigata University in Japan, looked at data from more than 20,000 study participants. They found that overall, the risk of sustaining hearing loss in a person with diabetes is 2.15 times higher than in a person without diabetes. For participants with diabetes under age 60, the risk of hearing loss was 2.61 times higher than those without diabetes, while the relative risk dropped to 1.58 times higher in those older than 60. This is because diabetes is just one of several factors that may contribute to age-related hearing loss; the absolute risk of hearing loss increased, of course, with age.

But especially since even younger people with diabetes have an increased risk of hearing loss, there may be good reason to include screening for it as part of diabetes-related clinical recommendations. Currently, as our 2010 article noted, the procedures governing the diagnosis and treatment of hearing loss vary from state to state, with some states allowing the distribution of hearing aids even without a medical examination to rule out highly treatable conditions (which may require, and benefit greatly from, surgery). Because sensorineural hearing loss involves damage to how the sound signal is picked up — as opposed to damage to the structures that transmit the vibrations that are picked up, called conductive hearing loss — hearing aids may be less effective for sensorineural than for conductive hearing loss.

Nevertheless, many people both with and without diabetes find that hearing aids can be beneficial, and other forms of assistance such as assistive listening devices can be beneficial even when hearing aids are not. And now that the connection between diabetes and hearing loss is becoming more established, researchers may begin to explore whether any hearing loss can be regained through improved diabetes control or reversal of Type 2 diabetes.

Have you been screened for hearing loss? Would you like to be? If you have experienced hearing loss, do you find hearing aids to be helpful? What about other treatments or adaptations? Did you suspect that diabetes played a role in your hearing loss, or did you chalk it up simply to age? Should hearing-loss screening be a regular part of diabetes screening and treatment? Leave a comment below!

POST A COMMENT       
  

Comments
  1. yes I believe hearing test should be routine along with other examinations for diabetics. I was diagnosed with diabetes approximately 10 years ago, but did not experience any hearing loss until the last year, it seems to be gradually worsening.
    I am going to check with my insurance company to see if hearing aids would be covered.

    This is another subject but I would like to inform all diabetics, I want to help anyone who suffers with diabetes deal with the illness better, if I can.

    My pharmacist told me about CINNAMON helping to control glucose levels. Right after I started using it, I began reading and hearing about it by others who was using it.

    After using it a few weeks, when my A/1C was checked,it had come down from 8.3, my previous reading 7.1. Check it out you will be glad you did.

    Posted by Mildred McNair |
  2. No, I have never been tested for hearing loss since being diagnosed a T1D back in Nov. 1957.

    Yes, when tinnitus began for me last year, I suspected it was due to T1D. I realize there is no cure. However, I use a supplement that lessons the ringing in the ears; a suggestion from my pharmacist.

    Actually, a thorough exam should be regularly scheduled at least once a year for any one dealing with a chronic disease or more often as needed.

    A Healthy Nation is a Strong Nation.

    Posted by joan |
  3. I suffered “sudden Hearing Loss” about 3 weeks ago. The several tests done have not yet fully come up with a complete answer. Type 2 was mentioned as a “possible” cause. My question: Would periodic testing be a good way to diagnose? SUDDEN — seems like a hard thing to catch or predict? Comments?

    Posted by Paul |
  4. Amazingly even by advanced medical journals most remedies appear to be mitigation -gadgetizing organs abandoning diseased organ-substituting with plastic and silica

    Posted by Varadhachari |
  5. I found this aritcle whilst researching industrial deafness.. Previously I had no idea about the potential connection between diabetes and hearing loss.

    Tom Fairclough

    Posted by Thomas Fairclough |

Post a Comment

Note: All comments are moderated and there may be a delay in the publication of your comment. Please be on-topic and appropriate. Do not disclose personal information. Be respectful of other posters. Only post information that is correct and true to your knowledge. When referencing information that is not based on personal experience, please provide links to your sources. All commenters are considered to be nonmedical professionals unless explicitly stated otherwise. Promotion of your own or someone else's business or competing site is not allowed: Sharing links to sites that are relevant to the topic at hand is permitted, but advertising is not. Once submitted, comments cannot be modified or deleted by their authors. Comments that don't follow the guidelines above may be deleted without warning. Such actions are at the sole discretion of DiabetesSelfManagement.com. Comments are moderated Monday through Friday by the editors of DiabetesSelfManagement.com. The moderators are employees of R.A. Rapaport Publishing, Inc., and do not report any conflicts of interest. A privacy policy setting forth our policies regarding the collection, use, and disclosure of certain information relating to you and your use of this Web site can be found here. For more information, please read our Terms and Conditions.


Flashpoints
Doctor Payments Revealed (04/16/14)
The Costs of Innovation (04/09/14)
Diabetes to Go (04/02/14)
Veggie Persuasion (03/26/14)

 

 

Disclaimer of Medical Advice: You understand that the blog posts and comments to such blog posts (whether posted by us, our agents or bloggers, or by users) do not constitute medical advice or recommendation of any kind, and you should not rely on any information contained in such posts or comments to replace consultations with your qualified health care professionals to meet your individual needs. The opinions and other information contained in the blog posts and comments do not reflect the opinions or positions of the Site Proprietor.


Carbohydrate Restriction: An Option for Diabetes Management
Some people find that decreasing the amount of carbohydrate they eat can help with blood glucose control. Here’s what to know about this approach.

Insulin Patch Pumps: A New Tool for Type 2
Patch pumps are simpler to operate than traditional insulin pumps and may be a good option for some people with Type 2 diabetes who need insulin.

How Much Do You Know About Vitamins?
Learn what these micronutrients can and can’t do for you.

Complete table of contents
Get a FREE ISSUE
Subscription questions