Did you know that hearing loss is about twice as common in adults with Type 2 diabetes compared to those who do not have the disease?

Physicians have another reason to ask patients about their hearing. Researchers have discovered a higher rate of hearing loss in people with diabetes. Post-mortem studies have shown evidence diabetes may lead to sensorineural hearing loss by damaging the nerves and blood vessels of the inner ear due to pathological changes associated with this condition. These include:

  • Sclerosis of the internal auditory artery
  • Thickened capillaries of the stria vascularis
  • Atrophy of the spiral ganglion
  • Demyelination of the VIII cranial nerve

It is possible that diabetic patients can have normal or near normal hearing at the time of the initial identification of diabetes, only to suffer from a progressive form of sensorineural hearing loss.

Diabetic patients should have their hearing tested annually by an audiologist. The earlier hearing loss is identified, the more effective treatment options (such as hearing aids) are likely to be.

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