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  • Diabetes Affects Hearing, Blood Flow to Ears
    4 Nov , 2015





    This November 3, 2015 post from audiologist Lolly Wigall reminds us that November is National Diabetes Month, and highlights the connection between diabetes and hearing loss.

    By Lolly Wigall

    Diabetes is common today. According to the American Diabetes Association website almost 30 million American have diabetes. The website suggests that over 80 million Americans are at risk for developing Type 2 diabetes. As an audiologist, that number jumps out at me. There are almost 40 million Americans who have hearing loss. And, my guess is there are people that have both diabetes and hearing loss.

    I have encouraged every diabetic I know to have an annual hearing test. Diabetes affects blood flow. Any constriction of blood flow can affect the tiny hair cells in the cochlea. If those hair cells are denied the proper blood flow, hearing loss can result. 

    Hearing loss develops slowly and many people are unaware of their hearing loss until family members insist they have a hearing test. By that time, relationships may have become strained due to miscommunication. 

    Most insurance plans will pay for an annual diagnostic hearing test since it is to monitor a disease.

    This year the American Diabetes Association has a theme to encourage people to eat well. If you go to their website, you can get recipes to help you eat in a more healthy way. There are studies and articles on the website that link hearing loss and diabetes. The website has lots of information about diabetes and the impact the disease is having on us Americans.

    Hearing loss and diabetes cost Americans billions of dollars each year. Supposedly, the cost for just diabetes and the treatment of those with the disease in dollars, exceeds $240 billion  annually. The cost of medical care for diabetics is about two times higher than those without diabetes. People with diabetes are at greater risk for heart attacks and death from heart disease. People with diabetes are more likely to have hearing loss, which can cause lack of work productivity due to not hearing well on the job.

    As a professional, I would be thrilled if every physician, and especially endocrinologists, would insist that every patient they saw had a hearing test annually. My husband is diabetic and his physician knows that he needs a variety of tests every year. His physician makes sure he has a report from the podiatrist, the ophthalmologist, and the audiologist every year. If you are diabetic, talk to your doctor about having an annual hearing test.


    Lolly Wigall, MS, CCC-A, FAAA