Diabetes and Hearing Loss
Diabetes is known as a type of disease where the blood glucose levels in the body are affected. In type 1 diabetes, the pancreas no longer manufactures insulin where in type 2 diabetes, the pancreas makes insulin, but the body rejects it. Diabetes has been found to affect an estimated 10.7% of the adult population. Some individuals may have diabetes and may not even be aware that they have it.
People with diabetes typically experience a myriad of complications. The majority of these complications will be related to cardiovascular disease and high cholesterol but there is reason to believe that diabetes may lead to hearing loss as well. Researchers over the years have not been able to conclusively note a specific link between diabetes and hearing impairment, however, data examinations have been done to say that there is potential for someone’s hearing to be affected if they have diabetes. Researchers in a study called Hispanic Health and Nutrition examined the air conduction thresholds by hertz in individuals and found that those with diabetes had a higher threshold at a single frequency. This did not rule out the association between hearing loss and diabetes, but the results were not identifiable with regard to a detailed and precise link. The conflicting evidence from many studies over the years has not allowed the debate between diabetes and hearing loss impairment to gain much steam. Building a powerful case for the link requires precise results that are definitive in their data and with the fluctuating amount of evidence in a variety of studies, many of the results have proven inaccurate or not conclusive.
In further analyses done by scientists, hearing impairment was noted but not limited to those with diabetes. Observational data stated that smokers were also prone to hearing loss as well.
Prevalence then was not so much on the diabetes hearing loss connection, but hearing loss being a factor in many conditions an individual may experience based on habit or ailment. The hearing loss argument then can be said to be speculative based on other complications that tend to result from an individual having diabetes type 2. Evidence of any credibility has just begun to surface within the last few years. Studies have further shown that hearing impairment is a potential early complication that can afflict those with diabetes. This has been able to advance the argument that diabetes and hearing impairment are indeed linked in some form. Data from within the United States has shown that individuals who have diabetes between the ages of 50 and 69 have a higher rate of hearing impairment than would normally be the case. Recent data also suggests that people of any age with diabetes may experience hearing loss. People with diabetes are then encouraged to maintain stable glucose levels in their body based on guidelines detailed by the American Diabetes Association. People who do not have diabetes but know someone who does are encouraged to inform them of the potential risks that diabetes may cause on hearing. With extensive studies being done over the past few years, it can be said hearing loss can result from an individual having type 2 diabetes.