Hearing loss: Diabetes can increase the risk of hearing loss

Published by Health Professional

on Thursday, March 23rd 2023

DiabetesGeneral

Diabetes is a chronic condition that affects how your body processes blood sugar. It can lead to several complications, including damage to blood vessels and nerves throughout the body. One of the lesser-known complications of diabetes is hearing loss. 

In this article, we will discuss 10 points on why diabetes can affect your hearing.

Damage to blood vessels

  1. High blood sugar levels can cause damage to blood vessels throughout the body, including those in the inner ear. The inner ear is a delicate structure responsible for hearing and balance. If the blood vessels in the inner ear become damaged, it can reduce hearing ability.

Nerve damage

  1. Diabetes can also cause damage to the nerves that supply the inner ear. This can affect the transmission of sound signals from the inner ear to the brain, leading to hearing loss.

Increased risk of infections

  1. People with diabetes are at an increased risk of developing ear infections. These infections can lead to inflammation and damage to the inner ear, resulting in hearing loss.

Ototoxic medications

  1. People with diabetes are often prescribed medications to manage their condition. Some of these medications, such as certain antibiotics and diuretics, can be ototoxic, which means they can cause damage to the inner ear and lead to hearing loss.

Age-related hearing loss

  1. As people with diabetes age, they may be at an increased risk of age-related hearing loss. This is because the blood vessels and nerves in the inner ear can become damaged over time, reducing hearing ability.

Noise-induced hearing loss

  1. People with diabetes may be more susceptible to noise-induced hearing loss. This is because high blood sugar levels can cause damage to the hair cells in the inner ear, making them more vulnerable to damage from loud noises.

Reduced blood flow to the inner ear

  1. High blood sugar levels can reduce blood flow to the inner ear. This can deprive the inner ear of essential nutrients and oxygen, leading to damage and hearing loss.

Increased risk of cardiovascular disease

  1. People with diabetes are at an increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease, which can also affect hearing. Cardiovascular disease can cause damage to the blood vessels in the inner ear, leading to hearing loss.

Poor circulation

  1. Diabetes can lead to poor circulation, affecting the blood supply to the inner ear. This can lead to a reduction in hearing ability.

Impaired immune function

  1. People with diabetes may have impaired immune function, making them more susceptible to infections that can lead to hearing loss.

In conclusion

Diabetes can affect your hearing in a number of ways. High blood sugar levels can cause damage to blood vessels and nerves in the inner ear, increase the risk of infections, and make you more susceptible to age-related and noise-induced hearing loss. 

Additionally, ototoxic medications, poor circulation, and impaired immune function can also contribute to hearing loss in people with diabetes. If you have diabetes, managing your condition and protecting your hearing is important to maintain your overall health and well-being.