As anyone dealing with it can attest, managing diabetes is a life-altering fact. Unfortunately, a lesser-known — but increasingly clear — symptom of it is hearing loss.
Current research shows that diabetics are twice as likely to develop hearing issues. And, sad to say, the rate of diabetes has been rising steadily in recent years.
Diabetes creates an imbalance in the bloodstream that causes glucose, a sugar that is vital to the body’s cells, to buildup in the blood instead of being distributed throughout the body. And the intricate mechanism of the human hearing system is especially dependent on good circulation to function.
The current working theory is that elevated levels of glucose eventually damage the blood vessels of the inner ear. These are extremely small, yet vital to constantly rejuvenating the aural apparatus.
This is especially true for the stereocilia, the hairs within the ear that turn sound waves into the electrical signals sent to the brain. Unlike exterior hair, the stereocilia do not regenerate. Any damage to them is permanent and new ones will not grow to replace the dead. They’re not being properly nourished is a clear cause for hearing loss and, unfortunately, diabetes increases the likelihood of this happening.
Along with properly treating diabetes as prescribed by a doctor, other steps that can be taken in dealing with diabetes-related hearing loss is to not allow other risk factors to come into play.
Exposure to loud sound is one such factor. Noise damage to the inner ear causes further degradation that poor blood circulation will exacerbate. Encouraging good circulation through exercise will ensure the ears are getting as much nourishment as possible. Related to this is maintaining a healthy weight, since excess weight curtails the efficiency of the circulatory system.