Type 2 Diabetes – Hearing Loss and Diabetes: The Connection

Type 2 Diabetes – Hearing Loss and Diabetes: The Connection – Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes has the ability to affect many different parts of the body. Some areas are aggravated simply due to the disease itself while others are affected as a direct result of a complication of the disease. One area many diabetics might not be keenly aware of as being affected, is their hearing. In the past, as Type 2 diabetes was a disease of older people who may be experiencing hearing loss due to their age, the two diseases were connected. Actually, hearing loss brought about by diabetes has different causes to hearing loss brought about by old age.
Statistics show diabetics are at a 30 percent higher risk of developing hearing loss than those who do not have diabetes. That doesn’t mean that everyone with diabetes will experience hearing loss. However, it does mean that those with diabetes are much more prone to losing some of their hearing as a result of their diabetes diagnosis.
How does diabetes cause hearing loss?
The reason for the connection is based on several things… the first one is circulation. Tiny blood vessels and nerves in the inner ear are responsible for allowing us to hear. Just like other areas of the body, these delicate highways can become scarred and damaged irreparably from the high blood sugar levels associated with both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes.
The second reason that diabetes is connected is due to the lack of a protein called keratin. This protein serves an important purpose by bonding to the ear canal and creating a protective layer. This is important for two reasons:
it prevents the inner ear canal from becoming overly stimulated, and
it allows ear wax to move outward for easier removal.
Epithelial tissue within the ear canal can also become damaged from diabetes and high blood sugar. A person with this complication will notice an increased sensitivity to plastics, such as those used in hearing aids. Because of this sensitivity, these individuals are much more prone to developing any of a host of irritations and infections including yeast.
A common misconception is that only the elderly suffer from this condition. But the fact is anyone can have a level of hearing loss… even children. Since it is not a commonly thought about complication, the disease can attack this area without warning and actually cause significant damage quickly.
How can you tell you are experiencing hearing loss:
do you ask others to repeat what they are saying to you?
when conversing with a group of friends, do you have trouble following the conversation?
do you think people are mumbling?
is the volume of your television too loud for others who are around you?
do you have difficulty understanding what young children say?
Did you answer yes to any of these questions?
One problem with hearing loss is the individual rarely notices a difference until substantial damage has occurred. Unlike changes in vision which are easily noted, it’s difficult for someone to determine when their hearing has become impaired. This is why it’s important for both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetics to ask their doctor to include a hearing test in their regular check-up so any depletion of hearing loss can be detected early.