Diabetes, Hearing Loss & Dementia -- the links many don't know about

With nearly 31 Million people dealing with diabetes, it is commonplace for everyone to know someone (or multiple people) dealing with the disease. A recent study found that those dealing with diabetes are twice as likely to develop hearing loss than people without diabetes and of the 84 million adults who have prediabetes, the rate of hearing loss is 30% higher than those with normal blood glucose. And just as alarming, if the hearing loss is left untreated, they are 200%-500% more likely to develop dementia. (Johns Hopkins study, Dr. Frank Lin, MD, PhD)

Blood vessels can be damaged by the effects of high blood glucose levels and this can in turn cause damage to organs, such as the heart, eyes, and EARS! High blood glucose levels over long periods of time are known to lead to the blood vessels becoming damaged and destroyed. How the damage occurs is not so well understood, but it's impact on people is well understood, and is very real.

What we do know is that there is a snowball effect in that diabetes contributes to hearing loss and hearing loss contributes to cognitive decline and dementia.

Diabetes Symptoms

  • Increased thirst and frequent urination
  • Increased hunger
  • Fatigue
  • Blurred vision
  • Loss of ability to understand speech well
  • Slow-healing sores or frequent infections
  • Darkened areas on the skin.

Signs of Hearing Loss

  • Frequently asking others to repeat themselves.
  • Trouble following conversations that involve more than two people.
  • Thinking that others are mumbling.
  • Problems hearing in noisy places such as busy restaurants.
  • Trouble hearing the voices of women and small children.
  • Turning up the TV or radio volume too loud for others who are nearby.

Reduce Your Risks

  • Exercise regularly
  • Eat healthy foods
  • Engage in social activities
  • Monitor your hearing and treat any loss

At Treasure Valley Hearing & Balance, we focus on the whole person. We understand that these things can be related, which is why we specialize in the medical treatment of hearing loss. We also believe that everyone should have a baseline hearing test by the age of 50. If you suspect a hearing loss or have been diagnosed with diabetes, schedule your complimentary hearing assessment right away. We will record your hearing test results for you and help you keep a close eye on any changes you might experience. Whether it is diabetes or hearing loss, early diagnosis and early treatment can improve your quality of life.