The Diabetes And Hearing Loss Connection

diabetes and hearing loss connection

A diagnosis of diabetes is something that everyone dreads. Once diagnosed, it is important to understand the condition and to implement appropriate methods that can help to manage it. A particularly harsh effect that diabetes tends to have on the body relates to how it affects nerves. When blood glucose levels remain high consistently, it can cause damage to both the circulatory system and nerves. Sometimes, the damage that diabetes causes can lead to hearing problems.

We will assess the connection that exists between hearing loss and diabetes in this post. We consider how it happens, signs to look out for, and what you can do to protect your ability to hear clearly. 

The Diabetes-Hearing Connection

Diabetes is a condition that affects blood glucose use in the body, so people often do not associate it with their ability to hear. The World Health Organization reports that an estimated 430 million individuals have some degree of hearing loss that causes them to experience disability. They also estimate that this problem will almost double by the year 2050. It has also been found that people with diabetes are twice as likely to experience hearing loss compared to someone who does not have this condition. 

The question that arises now is how diabetes causes hearing loss. It is well known that diabetes affects nerves throughout the body. This happens when blood glucose levels remain high for prolonged periods. Common body parts that are affected by nerve damage include the feet and hands, as well as the kidneys. The condition can, however, also affect nerves that are important for vision and hearing. 

The high blood glucose levels essentially cause damage to tiny nerves, as well as blood vessels, that lie on the interior of your ear. This issue does not only occur due to high blood sugar, however. When diabetes causes regular lows, where blood sugar falls, then this can have an impact on the transmission of signals between the nerves that connect your ears to your brain. 

Understanding The Signs

Diabetic patients are generally advised to opt for a hearing test once a year. This can help to ensure you can detect hearing loss early on – at which time there are more options available when it comes to treating the issue. 

Even in between these hearing tests, you should still ensure you can recognize signs that you may be experiencing hearing loss. There are many cases where the person who has hearing loss is not the first to discover this. Instead, you may find that your family or the friends you speak to notice that you have difficulty hearing what they say. 

Here are some signs that you should keep in mind when you assess your hearing:

  • You may find it difficult to follow along with a conversation when it is more than just you and another person talking. 
  • You may sometimes feel like people around you are mumbling. 
  • You regularly ask people to repeat something that they have said. 
  • When you are in a busy public area, you may have trouble hearing others. 
  • You may notice that you turn the volume of the TV up to the point where it is too loud for those who are in the same area. 

Apart from these factors, it is also important to note that hearing problems can have an impact on your balance. Thus, if you regularly find yourself with imbalance problems, then you should consider going for a hearing test just to be safe. 

When Do You Need A Hearing Aid?

If you start to notice hearing loss, then it might be time to think about the use of a hearing aid. Even though the FDA has approved a hearing aid as an OTC device, it is important to still see a medical professional before you make any decisions. While these devices can be useful, they won’t get to the root of the problem. 

A healthcare professional can closely inspect the inner ear to determine if the problem is related to diabetes or perhaps something else. Additionally, the professional can help you better understand the purpose of hearing aids and explain how they work. This ensures you are educated and know what options you have available. 

Strategies To Protect Hearing

Even if you do not experience any hearing problems as a diabetic, it is still important to protect your hearing. When you have diabetes, your risk for hearing problems is increased. This is why you should implement strategies and steps that can help to provide better protection for your ears. 

Regular checkups are a good starting point when it comes to protecting your hearing. You should also consider any medications that you take. When you have been prescribed a new medication, confirm with your physician that the drugs will not have side effects that are related to your ears and hearing ability. 

Apart from these, here are a few more tips that you should keep in mind:

  • When you use a device that makes a lot of noise, make sure you wear protective elements over your ears. This includes chainsaws, leaf blowers, and lawnmowers. 
  • Try to limit the amount of background noise you expose yourself to. 
  • When you wear headphones or earphones, don’t push the volume of the music you are listening to up too much. The vibrations can cause damage to your eardrum. 

You should also avoid the use of cotton swabs when you want to clean your ear. If there is an excessive buildup of wax, see a doctor or visit a pharmacy to get ear drops that can help clear it out. 


We depend on our ability to hear, whether it is to be aware of our surroundings or to hear someone speak. When hearing loss develops, it can have a drastic impact on your life, especially in more severe cases. Diabetes can contribute to hearing loss, but there are ways that you can reduce the risk of nerves in your ears being affected by the disease. This article provided you with the knowledge you need to make informed choices and better understand the connection between your diabetes and potential hearing loss.