Two of the most widespread health issues in America are diabetes and hearing loss. Several studies have found that the two issues are linked, although no precise cause has been named.

A study by the National Institutes of Health found that people with diabetes are twice as likely to also suffer from sensorineural hearing loss.

Sensorineural hearing loss is the most common type of permanent hearing loss. It occurs when there is damage to the inner ear, or the nerves connecting the inner ear to the brain.

Your hearing is dependent on the blood vessels and nerves in your inner ear. NIH researchers believe that the high blood glucose levels that occur in diabetic people damage those blood vessels and nerves over time, resulting in hearing loss.

A study by a group of Japanese researchers found that hearing loss may be related to A1c levels and added that diabetics younger than 60-years-old were more likely to have hearing loss than diabetics older than 60. Diabetes has already been tied to an increased risk of kidney and cardiovascular troubles, nerve damage, and vision loss. After this study, it is now believed that diabetics are twice as likely as those without the disease to have a hearing impairment.

Unknown Link

Both studies concluded that hearing loss is more likely in diabetics. However, neither study was designed to pinpoint the specific link between diabetes and hearing loss. The researchers hypothesized that blood sugar levels damaging blood vessels could be the cause. They also warned that another likely culprit could be medications taken by diabetes patients, which could also damage their hearing.

Test Your Hearing

Because the specific cause is unknown the best advice to offer people with diabetes is to get their hearing tested frequently and starting at an earlier age than non-diabetics.

Hearing loss makes it difficult to differentiate between sounds and speech becomes harder to comprehend. The longer you wait to treat your hearing loss the worse it will become. While hearing loss cannot be reversed hearing aids will allow you to restore your hearing to a normal level.