About 17 percent of Americans, which is nearly 36 million people, suffer from some degree of hearing loss. Several studies have linked type2 diabetes to an increased risk of hearing loss. Also, some researches have suggested that children suffering from type1 diabetes are more likely to face hearing impairment at an early age.
Diabetics are More Likely to Experience Hearing Loss
According to the results of a study published by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), diabetics are almost twice as likely to develop hearing loss as compared to non-diabetics. The researchers analyzed hearing test data of 5,140 participants, aged between 20 to 69 years, who took part in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) during 1999 to 2004. Around 8% of the participants reported a history of diabetes, excluding women with gestational diabetes.
It was found that 54% of the diabetic participants experienced high-frequency hearing disorder of mild or greater severity, as compared to 32% non-diabetics facing similar problems. Moreover, low- or mid-frequency hearing loss of mild or greater severity was detected in 21% of the participants with diabetes and 9% of the subjects with no history of diabetes. The researchers reported that the outcomes of the study were true regardless of the history of noise exposure and age, except for those aged betweenÂ 60andÂ 69Â years.
Diabetes can cause several alterations to the hearing mechanism. It can impair the ability of the nerves to transmit sound signals. Diabetes can damage the blood vessels and nerves of the inner ear. Further, diabetics often suffer from keratin deficiency, which forms a protective layer in the ear canal. Reduced levels of keratin can lead to hearing loss. Diabetes can also bring about degeneration of the epithelial tissue present in the ear canal, which can affect hearing ability.
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