Hearing loss is common for individuals with diabetes. According to a study conducted by the National Institutes of Health, hearing loss is twice as common in an individual with diabetes compared to individuals without diabetes. It was also discovered that individuals who are pre-diabetic are 30% more likely to have hearing loss than someone with normal blood sugar levels. More research is needed but it is speculated that diabetes causes damage to the inner ear’s nerves and blood vessels which results in a sensorineural hearing loss.
Diabetes is a disease affecting nearly 30 million Americans, and it is strongly suggested that individuals with diabetes have an annual hearing exam to monitor their hearing. Even if the individual does not feel that they have difficulty hearing, it is important to have a baseline test in order for future comparisons. A sensorineural hearing loss caused by diabetes can be slowly progressive, so continued monitoring is important.