November 14, 2009 marked the World Diabetes Day, a global awareness campaign launched in 1991 by the International Diabetes Federation. The theme for 2009 was “Understand Diabetes and Take Control.”
One aspect of diabetes which is often not understood or discussed is the fact diabetes can put those with the disease at risk for developing hearing loss.
A study carried out by National Institutes of Health over a four-year period and published last year in the Annals of Internal Medicine, suggests that patients with diabetes are more than twice as likely to have hearing loss as non-diabetics. This means that many of the approximately 23.6 diabetics in the United States and 285 million worldwide are predisposed to – or may already have – a hearing loss.
While the connection between diabetes and susceptibility to vision loss is well known, unfortunately the statistics of diabetes related hearing loss among diabetics is not. Studies have suggested diabetics are susceptible to hearing problems because this disease may damage the nerves and blood vessels of the inner ear.
A hearing test is the first step in determining if someone with diabetes does have hearing loss. Regular hearing tests are then recommended in order to allow for early diagnosis and monitor for progression.
For more information on the hearing loss and diabetes connection visit: Diabetes and Hearing Loss: The Important Connection.