Blog Article

Hearing and Diabetes

Hearing and Diabetes

Experts from Public Health England and The Association of Public Health Observatories predict around 5.5 million people in the UK will develop diabetes by 2030. In this prediction, there is no distinction between Type I and Type II diabetes, but researchers have confirmed hearing loss as a minor complication of the widespread metabolic disorder.

How Diabetes Can Cause Hearing Loss

Researchers have not discovered how diabetes directly causes hearing loss, but they have formed two theories based on well-established facts:

  1. Theory one blames the problem on blood vessel damage, which uncontrolled diabetes is known to cause all over the body, including in the ears.
  2. Nerve damage is the other suspected cause of diabetes-related hearing loss. When the nerves inside the ear are significantly impaired, the brain can no longer receive auditory signals effectively, making it hard to hear.

The Role of an Audiologist 

An audiologist is a healthcare professional specialising in hearing and balance disorders. They treat patients to care for their ears and fit them with hearing aids, assistive listening tools, and other ear-protective devices.

People with diabetes and potential hearing loss can benefit from an audiologist's expertise. The first office visit usually starts with the patient's personal and family history, followed by an outer ear exam using an otoscope.

Among many others, two standard tests also performed by an audiologist are tympanometry, which measures movement and pressure in the eardrum, and pure tone testing, which determines the extent of the hearing damage.

After performing all the necessary tests, your audiologist will recommend appropriate treatment, often including using hearing aids and making healthy lifestyle changes.

Holistic Management of Diabetes-Related Hearing Loss

Unfortunately, hearing loss from diabetes is irreversible, but there are steps to protect your ears from further damage. Aside from seeing an audiologist regularly, here are five practical ways to protect hearing among people with diabetes:

1. Maintain Healthy Blood Sugar Levels

While diabetes-related hearing loss is permanent, maintaining a healthy blood glucose level can prevent further damage.

2. Avoid Known Causes of Hearing Loss

People with diabetic-hearing loss can prevent more damage by avoiding common causes of hearing loss, such as loud noises and earwax buildup.

3. Eat Hearing-Healthy Foods & Exercise Often 

Certain foods such as fish, legumes, and whole grains protect our hearing. Regular exercise also helps promote blood flow in the ears and encourages optimal auditory functions.

4. Meditate Daily

Meditation helps the hard of hearing by increasing their sensitivity to sound.

5. Get Enough Sleep

Constant sleep deprivation can diminish brain function, particularly central auditory processing. Studies show the body needs at least seven to eight hours of sleep to work optimally.

Hearing and Diabetes: Prevention and Maintenance

Those with diabetes can seek professional help and adhere to prescribed treatments to prevent hearing damage. Whether it's using technology, natural methods or both, you can protect your hearing as one of the five vital senses of the body.

Contact Sam and the team at Summertown Audiology today for more top tips and to discuss your hearing health needs Contact us today


Date: 1 March 2023