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Does Diabetes Cause Hearing Loss?

Diabetes and hearing loss are just two of the world's most widespread health issues.

Diabetes affects an estimated 10 percent of the elderly population in the Western World. About 40 percent of these cases are undiagnosed.

There is a strong connection between age and hearing loss. For instance, in America 8 percent of 18 to 44 years old, 19% of 45 to 64 years old, and 30% of 65 to 74 years old report difficulty with their hearing.

What causes hearing loss?

Weight reduction develops when noise signals are unable to make it to the brain. This may be due to one or both of the following causes:

The inner part of the ear includes little hair follicles (nerve endings) that change sounds into electric signals. The nerves then carry these signals to the mind.

Damage to the tiny hair cells, the nerve fibres in the inner ear, the auditory nerve which carries the sound signals to the brain (auditory nerve), or the mind itself may cause partial or full loss of hearing.

Known as sensorineural deafness, this kind of hearing loss is irreversible.

[2] Conductive hearing impairment

Earwax, ear infections, a perforated ear drum or harm to the hearing bones may all prevent noises from passing from your outer ear to your ear.

This conductive hearing impairment might be just a temporary problem.

Mixed hearing loss... it is possible for both of these problems to happen at precisely the exact same time.

Hearing loss, of whatever kind, can be brought on by a variety of factors. These include:

Aging ... getting progressively deaf as you grow older is a Simple Fact of life
Prolonged exposure to loud noises ... noise is the cause of about half of all cases of hearing loss and responsible for a certain degree of hearing problems in 5 percent of the global population
Chemicals ... certain substances (combined with loud noises) can raise a Individual's hearing loss
Genes ... diminished hearing can be inherited
Illness ... measles, meningitis and mumps can lead to a degree of hearing loss; so too can neurological disorders like multiple sclerosis and stroke
Medicines ... like antibiotics, anti-inflammatory drugs and diuretics can lead to irreversible ear damage, which is one reason why their use is restricted
Physical trauma ... those who sustain head injuries are especially vulnerable to hearing loss or tinnitus (ringing in the ears), either temporary or permanent
What are the symptoms of hearing loss?

Hearing loss may be so gradual you can not notice it. In fact, your family or friends may notice a reduction of hearing before you do.

You probably have impaired hearing if you:

  1. Find it hard to hear different people obviously or feel that their voices seem mumbled or slurred
  2. Have trouble following conversations which involve more than two people speaking
  3. Have problems hearing in noisy places like busy bars or restaurants or other places where there is background noise
  4. Find it easier to understand men compared to women and kids
  5. Need to develop the volume excessively when listening to music or watching TV
  6. Find it difficult to listen to your telephone, mobile, alarm clock along with the door bell
  7. Find that some sounds seem too loud.
  8. The connection between diabetes and deafness has been debated since the early 1960s.

These studies were based on small samples of older adults. A number of them were conducted in industrial or military settings and the possibility that the deafness suffered by diabetics wasn't because of occupational exposure to sound couldn't be ruled out.

The investigators found participants who have blood sugar levels or pre-diabetes were twice as likely to have at least mild hearing loss when compared with individuals with diabetes... even after accounting for important factors known to affect hearing, like age, race, ethnicity, exposure to noise, income amount and the use of certain medications.

The connection between diabetes and hearing loss has been apparent throughout all frequencies, with a stronger association at the high frequency range.

For high frequency noises, mild or higher hearing impairment in the worst ear was 54 percent in diabetics compared to 32% in non-diabetics. Overall figures for non- or mid-frequency sounds in the worst ear were 21% and 9% respectively.

Adults with pre-diabetes had, overall, a 30 percent higher rate of hearing loss in contrast to men who were not diabetic.

What's more, these decisions held across a variety of socio-demographic characteristics such as age, gender, educational attainments and ethnicity.

The analyses also demonstrated a stronger link between diagnosed with diabetes and hearing impairment in younger individuals compared to older people.

Additionally, the larger incidence of hearing impairment among diabetics was not limited to those who might have been predisposed to the condition, such as smokers, those who had been exposed to excessive noise or persons taking medication that influenced the ear.

The link between diabetes and deafness revealed by the NIH study was fortified with a later Japanese study.

Japanese research

Back in July 2011, scientists from the Tsukuba University Hospital Mito Medical Centre in Ibaraki, Japan, discovered that reduction of hearing is over two times as common in individuals with diabetes than in non-diabetics.

The team amalgamated the findings of 13 studies involving nearly 8,800 individuals with deficient hearing and 23,839 individuals who could hear normally. They discovered that, in comparison to non-diabetics, persons with diabetes are 2.3 times more likely to suffer at least mild impairment of hearing.

How does diabetes cause hearing loss?

The differences in hearing disability between diabetics and non-diabetics decrease with increasing age. This suggests that diabetes might be aging the ear.

Maybe, but right now we only know there is a strong association between diabetes and loss of hearing. We don't know if diabetes really causes hearing loss.

It is likely however that elevated blood glucose levels impact the source of blood or oxygen to the tiny blood vessels and nerves of the inner ear that, as time passes, damages those blood vessels and nerves, causing hearing loss... similar to the way in which diabetes can damage the eyes, kidneys and feet.

Autopsies of deceased diabetics have revealed evidence of such harm.

But more research needs to be done in order to discover why diabetics have a higher rate of hearing loss in contrast to non-diabetics.

Potential studies (which watch for results such as the development of a disorder) need to be carried out to test whether hearing handicap starts earlier among diabetics than among men without diabetes. If it turns out that diabetics begin to lose their hearing at an earlier stage, this would help decide whether diabetes contributes to reduction of hearing.

In my opinion, the signs so far and my experience of hearing loss, diabetes is one of several causes of hearing impairment.

What can you do about diabetic hearing loss?

The answer to this question is... diet... exactly the same diet which you use to control your diabetes and stay healthy.

To overcome your own diabetes and save what's left of your hearing you should eat natural, unprocessed foods, mainly plants, which are low in sugar, low in fat, low in salt, high in fibre and digested slowly. In addition, you will need to exclude dairy products and eggs from the diet and drink plenty of water.

While it probably won't reverse your deafness and enable you to hear clearly it again, this Beating-Diabetes diet could be expected to prevent or slow down the degeneration on your hearing.

But for the diet to be successful, you also need to avoid things which can acerbate your hearing loss, such as loud noises and medicines that could affect your hearing.

As well as adhering to a diet that should slow down the rate of reduction, there are several things you can do to boost your hearing.

Some modern assistive devices, such as phone amplifiers and hearing aids, work remarkably well and will help revive your hearing sufficient for you to comprehend and take part in conversations with groups of people.

Individuals with acute loss of hearing might find learning sign language and lip reading to be helpful.

Regrettably surgery to put a cochlear implant (for persons with very severe hearing loss) doesn't restore normal hearing but only makes noises seem louder.

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