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Early detection of hearing loss is an important first step in hearing care for those living with diabetes.

People living with diabetes know that managing their symptoms is key to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. We know that fluctuations in blood sugar levels can have an effect on the retina, kidneys and blood vessels. However, what is not well known is that those same fluctuations in sugar levels can also damage the blood vessels and nerves of the inner ear, resulting in hearing loss.

Studies have shown that people living with diabetes are twice as likely to have hearing loss than those without diabetes. People with pre-diabetes have a 30% higher rate of developing hearing loss than those without. Based on research, the relationship between diabetes and hearing loss has been established, however the connection is less well-known than other diabetes-related complications. It is recommended that all people living with diabetes have a hearing evaluation. “Symptoms usually begin with muffled hearing or difficulty understanding what people are saying,” says Jacqueline Wong, Audiologist and Clinical Mentor and Trainer with Lifestyle Hearing Corporation. “You may listen to the TV louder than before or avoid social interactions because it’s too tiring to maintain conversation.”

Hearing loss is often underdiagnosed in those living with diabetes

Despite the increased prevalence of hearing loss in people living with diabetes, hearing health is not always discussed at health checkups. “Often, it is the family and friends of the hearing-impaired individual that notices it before the individual does. All types of hearing loss can have a huge impact on one’s communication ability”, says Wong. “Having hearing loss can lead to disengagement from daily activities, social isolation, and increased sense of loneliness.”

You can take control of your hearing health and begin your personalized hearing care journey today. “One of the first steps to managing hearing loss is to have an assessment performed by a hearing care professional,” said Wong. “Having regular hearing examinations is a great way to obtain a baseline and then monitor your hearing profile over time.”

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