This week is Diabetes Awareness Week (13th-19th June 2022) and here at Beckenham Hearing we are helping to raise awareness of the importance of regular hearing checks for those with diabetes.
Hearing loss is already common – 1 in 6 people in the UK have a hearing impairment – however diabetes has been linked to the development of hearing problems in various research studies.
One such study was undertaken in July 2011; researchers from the from a leading University Hospital in Japan found that hearing loss is more than twice as common in people with diabetes than in non-diabetics.
This study reviewed the results of 13 other studies which found that out of nearly 8,800 people with a hearing impairment more than 1,000 had diabetes, yet of 23,839 people with normal hearing levels, just under 2,500 lived with the condition. This study demonstrated that diabetic patients are 2.3 times more likely to suffer from mild hearing loss.
Another study from the US found that moderate hearing loss is more common in patients with type 2 diabetes. A third study also from the US found that if diabetes in women is left uncontrolled, they are more likely to develop a greater degree of hearing loss.
Why can diabetes lead to hearing loss?
While it unknown exactly why hearing loss is more common among people with diabetes, Diabetes UK states that autopsy studies of diabetes patients suggest this association is caused by neuropathy (nerve damage) which is a common complication of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
Researchers believe prolonged high blood glucose levels may lead to hearing loss by affecting the supply of blood or oxygen to the tiny nerves and blood vessels of the inner ear. Over time, the nerves and blood vessels become damaged, affecting the person’s ability to hear.
How can you maintain hearing health?
As a rule, we recommend that those over the age of 50 book a hearing assessment once every two years to maintain hearing health and catch hearing loss at its earliest opportunity. If you have diabetes this routine health check is even more important.
Our lead audiologist Neil Daniel offers clients comprehensive hearing tests from our high-spec clinic located in Beckenham.