Can Diabetes Cause Hearing Loss?

in this video i'm talking about the not so surprising connection between hearing loss and diabetes coming up [Music] hi guys cliff olson doctor of audiology and founder of applied hearing solutions in phoenix arizona and on this channel i cover a bunch of hearing related information to help make you a better informed consumer so if you're into that make sure you hit that subscribe button and don't forget to click the bell to receive a notification every time i post a new video diabetes runs in my family i can still remember back when my father was diagnosed with diabetes in his 40s which directly coincided with him needing to get eyeglasses to treat his vision loss in fact vision problems along with neuropathy kidney disease and heart disease are all common comorbidities of diabetes however another common comorbidity that not a lot of people know about with diabetes is hearing loss diabetes and hearing loss are two very common health conditions in the united states according to the american diabetes association nearly 30 million americans have diabetes and nearly 35 million americans have hearing loss a meta-analysis of 13 different studies completed in 2012 showed that individuals with diabetes are twice as likely to have hearing loss as individuals without diabetes additionally of the 84 million individuals in the united states that are pre-diabetic the rate of hearing loss is nearly 30 percent higher than individuals who have normal blood glucose levels most individuals with diabetes already understand the effects of this disease on their eyes their kidneys their peripheral arteries and their nerves however hearing loss tends to go undetected because it is such a gradual decline according to dr derrick hanzo from the department of otolaryngology head and neck surgery at henry ford hospital in detroit michigan a certain degree of hearing loss is expected as we all get older however this hearing loss is typically accelerated in individuals with diabetes especially if their blood glucose levels are not being kept in check with medication and diet the exact link between diabetes and hearing loss is still under investigation however it is possible that high blood glucose levels can cause damage to the small blood vessels inside of the inner ear in a very similar way that it causes damage to the eyes and to the kidneys diabetes is known to cause microvascular and neuropathic complications essentially damaging the tiny blood vessels that carry oxygen and nutrients to your inner ear it also causes damage to the structures in the inner ear and even causes damage to the nerve that takes information from the ear up to the brain autopsy reports of individuals with diabetes and hearing loss show thickening of the capillaries in the stream vascularis demyelination of the eighth cranial nerve thickened walls of the vessels in the basilar membrane greater loss of outer hair cells in the cochlea and narrowing of the internal auditory artery all of which help to explain how diabetes can be so detrimental to hearing with a growing mountain of evidence suggesting just how much diabetes can negatively impact your hearing it is highly recommended that you get a baseline hearing test if you have diabetes even if you do not experience any difficulty hearing yet simple hearing screenings can be performed at your primary care doctor's office they will basically tell you whether or not you passed the screening or you failed the screening however it is a much better idea to get a full diagnostic evaluation from an audiologist a few questions that you can ask yourself to determine the need for further audiologic testing based off the guide for pharmacy podiatry optometry and dentistry for diabetes management include do you or your family perceive any change in your hearing do you have hearing difficulty in quiet or in noise have you had your hearing tested in the past two years do you know how diabetes can affect your hearing do you know what to do if you perceive a change in hearing and do you know how to reduce your risk for hearing loss if you answer yes to questions one or two or no to questions three through six it is recommended you be referred for a diagnostic audiological evaluation as part of a full diagnostic hearing evaluation your audiologist will complete a comprehensive medical and health case history and then they will perform air conduction and bone conduction testing speech testing tympanometry and any other tests that are required based on the results of those tests if a hearing loss is found your audiologist may recommend amplification with hearing aids in order to reduce the risks associated with untreated hearing loss which include depression social isolation impaired memory increased falls increased anxiety and increased progression of cognitive decline to name a few additionally your hearing should be re-evaluated every two years or sooner if you have any high risk characteristics such as reduced speech understanding particularly in noisy environments tinnitus history of high levels of noise exposure history of ototoxic drug use sensitivity to loud sounds ear pain or drainage dizziness and history of falls or concern for falling because early diagnosis and appropriate intervention are critical to success with hearing treatment research also suggests that individuals with diabetes are more susceptible to noise induced hearing loss meaning any time that you go and do something that involves a large amount of noise you need to protect your hearing on top of that if you have treatment for your hearing loss you need to make sure that your audiologist is verifying the maximum power output settings of your hearing devices in order to reduce the risk of noise-induced hearing loss as much as possible vestibular or balanced dysfunction has also been shown to be 2.3 times higher in individuals with diabetes than individuals without diabetes and of course research also indicates that individuals with vestibular dysfunction are 2.6 times more likely to have fallen in the past year while hearing loss and vestibular dysfunction may not technically be symptoms of diabetes their presentation as a comorbidity is hard to ignore additional studies are still needed to clarify the relationship between the severity of diabetes and the prevalence of hearing impairment however with such a strong connection between diabetes and hearing loss i highly recommend that you add an audiologist to your diabetes management team so they can continuously monitor your hearing loss and treat it if necessary if you would like to learn more about the link between hearing loss and diabetes i highly recommend that you check out the audiology project by going to for a ton of great research information and resources that's it for this video if you have any questions leave them in the comment section below if you like the video please share it if you want to see other videos just like this one go ahead and hit that subscribe button also feel free to check out my website dr cliff [Music] you

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