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  • Writer's pictureWidex Emirates Hearing Care

The Connection Between Diabetes and Hearing Loss: All What You Need to Know

link between diabetes and hearing loss
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Hearing loss happens for several reasons. You probably know that it might happen sue to age or constant exposure to loud noises. What you don’t know is that having diabetes puts you at risk for hearing loss. Uncontrolled blood sugar from diabetes can hurt your hearing.

Read more to know the early signs of hearing loss, how you can contribute to preventing it if you have diabetes and what action you should take.


  1. What is diabetes?

  2. Signs of hearing loss

  3. The connection between hearing loss and diabetes

  4. How to protect your ears


What is Diabetes?


Diabetes is a disorder where the body has high blood sugar because of abnormal insulin, the hormone that regulates our blood sugar levels. There are two types of diabetes:


  • Type 1 diabetes


It occurs when our immune system destroys the pancreas cells producing insulin. People with this type are insulin dependent. They should administer insulin injections daily. About 5-10 percent of people with diabetes has type 1 diabetes.


  • Type 2 diabetes


It occurs when the body becomes insulin resistant. This means that insulin is not able to effectively regulate the blood sugar levels. Over 90 percent of the people with diabetes has type 2 diabetes.



Hearing loss can happen slowly, so sometimes, it is hard to notice it immediately. Although the prevalence of hearing loss is twice as likely for those with diabetes, the person might not recognize the symptoms as they happen slowly. Usually, friends and family members notice it before you do.


People with diabetes might experience multiple hearing complications. The most common type of hearing loss in people with Type 2 diabetes is Presbycusis- age-related hearing loss.


  • Asking others to frequently repeat themselves.

  • Turning up the volume of the TV or radio too loud.

  • Having difficulty following conversations with more than person at a time.

  • Thinking that the people around you are mumbling.

  • Having difficulty hearing in noisy places, such as busy and crowded restaurants.

  • Having trouble hearing the voices of small children, women and others with quiet voices.

  • Having difficulty hearing everyday sounds, such as a doorbell, a telephone or an alarm clock



The link between diabetes and hearing loss has been under research over the years, yet it is still not clear. Researchers don’t know still the exact cause, but evidence points to a relationship between hearing loss and diabetes.

Some believe that diabetes can lead to nerve damage that affects many parts of the body, including the nerves (neuropathy), eyes (retinopathy), and kidneys (nephropathy). It can also lead to nerve damage in your ears.

Over time, blood sugar levels that are either too low or too high can damage the nerves that are responsible for our hearing. High blood sugar levels damage the small blood vessels and nerves found in the inner ear. Low blood sugar levels damage over time how the nerve signals move from the inner ear to the brain. Both types of these nerve damage might lead to hearing loss.


How to Protect Your Ears


Managing your blood sugar is a major part of your diabetes care, which will help in protecting your hearing.  You should have your hearing tested and checked by an audiologist when you first find out that you have diabetes and then every year after. If you suspect you have hearing loss, talk to your doctor. They will help you decide if you should see a professional audiologist. Here are a few questions that you can ask about hearing loss:


  1. Am I taking a certain medication that might potentially cause hearing damage?

  2. What blood glucose target range will help to provide the best hearing protection?


You cannot reverse hearing loss, due to the structural damage caused by diabetes, but you can follow these tips to help protect your ears and hearing.


  • Monitor and keep your blood sugar as close to the target levels as possible.

  • Get your hearing checked regularly.

  • Lose extra weight. Maintain a moderate body weight.

  • Be more physically active. Target for at least 30 minutes of physical activity per day.

  • Eat healthy plant foods and healthy fats. Follow a diabetes meal plan after discussing it with your doctor.

  • Drink lot of water and avoid beverages that contain sugar.

  • Avoid other causes of hearing loss, including very loud noises.

  • Learn how to measure and control your own blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

  • Ask your doctor about ototoxic drugs you might be taking, which might damage your hearing and what other options are available to replace them.


Hearing loss can be very frustrating for you and all the people around you. There are many ways to keep your blood sugar in your target range. Protecting your hearing is one of them! Include regular hearing checkups as part of your diabetes care schedule. You will feel better, especially if you have more energy while you do it!


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