An estimated 30 million Americans – or one out of ten people in Las Vegas – has diabetes, making it one of the nation’s leading health concerns. Another 84 million have prediabetes, which means their odds of developing the disease within the next five years are markedly higher. There is a wide variety of potential health complications associated with diabetes – including hearing loss.
How Diabetes Affects Your Hearing
Diabetes puts people at risk of a number of serious health issues. Some of the better-known ones include neuropathy, blindness, cardiovascular disease and kidney failures. People with diabetes in Las Vegas can also develop hearing loss, according to data from several research studies.
The link between diabetes and hearing loss isn’t well-understood, but researchers theorize that the high blood glucose levels associated with diabetes don’t only cause harm to the eyes and kidneys; they might also damage the blood vessels in the inner ear. This can destroy the hair cells in the cochlea that are responsible for hearing, leading to irreversible hearing loss. It is also possible that diabetes might cause a thickening of the walls if the inner ear, similar to what has been observed in the walls of the kidneys in diabetic patients.
If you have diabetes, you are twice as likely to experience hearing loss in Las Vegas. Adults between the ages of 50 and 69 are most at risk; about 70 percent in this group will be diagnosed with high-frequency hearing loss, and one-third with low- or mid-frequency hearing loss. Those with prediabetes have a 30 percent higher chance of developing hearing loss than people without the disease.
Early Treatment is Key
The sooner you seek treatment for diabetes, the less risk you have of developing other health conditions, including hearing loss. Unfortunately, about 25 percent of diabetics don’t know they have the disease. This means hearing loss has the potential to become an even bigger problem than it already is.
Your Las Vegas hearing professional recommends regular hearing screenings for anybody who has been diagnosed with diabetes or prediabetes or falls into a high-risk category (overweight, inactive, family history of diabetes). Early treatment is the best way to avoid long-term complications. Schedule an appointment with your Las Vegas audiologist today.