October 23, 2015
A hearing loss/diabetes link
Hearing loss has long been associated with many health problems or diseases. These conditions may directly cause ear damage, such as in labyrinthitis, rubella, middle ear infection and others. In some cases the treatment itself may affect ear function, such as chemotherapy or the use of certain classes of antibiotics. Research is now providing statistical data from studies showing hearing loss is more prevalent in patients with certain health conditions. The presence of the condition may suggest a greater likelihood of developing hearing loss, or the loss itself may be an early sign of the disease.
As hearing status has been given more attention in the medical world, primary physicians are encouraged to acquire about ear problems and possible loss of hearing. In the case of diabetes, hearing loss may be an early indicator of yet-undiagnosed disease. This is particularly true of the more common Type 2 (adult onset) diabetes. Recent studies have found that this increased incidence of hearing loss may lead to earlier diagnosis and treatment of diabetes. Diabetics (type 2) are more than twice as likely as non-diabetics to have loss of hearing.
While the physiological connection between diabetes and hearing loss is not always clear. It is believed the damage is mostly linked to blood vessel and nerve damage. These effects can interfere with the function of the inner ear and the conduction of nerve impulses between the ear and the brain.
A modern focus on preventive medicine must take into account risk factors, early symptoms and early diagnosis. Of course hearing is important in its own right for communication. Now, however, we see all the more reason to check the status of adults’ hearing. Hearing loss could signal serious health concerns. Do not wait if you suspect a problem. As always, we seek to keep you on a clear path to good hearing and ear health.