Understanding the Diabetes-Hearing Loss Connection

The Diabetes and Hearing loss connection

The American Diabetes Association informs us of the significant risk to hearing imposed by diabetes mellitus. It is estimated that 25.8 million have diabetes. The correlation between diabetes and hearing loss is not so familiar to many physicians and in fact may be one of the more common complications of diabetes. The National Institute of Health conducted a study in 2008 where researchers found that people with diabetes had approximately a 30% greater incidence of hearing loss then comparable individuals with normal blood sugar. In the diabetic group, 54% showed some degree of high-frequency hearing loss. Women with diabetes may face even greater risk. Another study conducted in Detroit, Michigan found that women between the ages of 60 and 75 years with well-controlled diabetes had significantly less high-frequency hearing loss then a similar group with poorly controlled diabetes.

It is well-known that individuals with untreated hearing loss have a lower quality of life than individuals who have been treated for hearing loss. For individuals who are working, the use of hearing aids reduces the risk of income loss by 90-100% for mild hearing loss, and by 65-77% for moderate to severe losses.

Physicians would do well to understand the consequences of untreated hearing loss, and would provide a valuable service to their diabetic patients by discussing these issues with them. It may be appropriate to recommend a hearing screening for all patients with diabetes mellitus, and a comprehensive audiometric valuation for those who exhibit overt signs of hearing loss.

Submitted by Chipp Miller M.D.

Original information source for the above is from the American Diabetes Association

Please find the direct link to the American Diabetes Association below: