Hearing Loss and Diabetes

Hearing Loss and Diabetes

Risk of Hearing Loss in Diabetes 

Nearly 30 million people in the U.S. suffer from hearing loss in both ears, affecting 13% of the U.S. population aged 12 years or older.1 Studies have found that people with diabetes have double the risk of hearing loss than people without diabetes, while people with prediabetes have a 30% increased risk.2,3 

Research is not yet clear whether diabetes directly causes hearing loss, but some shared risk factors may explain the relationship. Similar to how hyperglycemia (ie, high blood glucose) in diabetes can cause macro- and microvascular complications, persistent hyperglycemia may also cause damages to the blood vessels and neurons in the ears.4 Aging is another factor shared by both diabetes and hearing loss. Additionally, medications such as antibiotics, anti-cancer agents, and certain diuretics, many of which may be used to treat comorbidities that people with diabetes more commonly have, may contribute to hearing loss.

What Are the Signs of Hearing Loss?  

Here are some signs of hearing loss:2

  • Turning up the volume of TV or other devices that others find to be too loud
  • Having trouble hearing the voices of children and women
  • Having trouble hearing in noisy places
  • Feeling like others are often mumbling
  • Often asking others to repeat after themselves
  • Having trouble following conversations with more than 2 people

What Should I Do If I Suspect Hearing Loss?

If you suspect you may be losing your hearing, first consult with your primary care physician.2 Your doctor and health care team will refer you to the right specialist that will provide a full hearing exam that can determine the degree of hearing loss and provide the right care. 

How Can I Prevent Hearing Loss? 

Studies have shown that factors that improve nerve blood flow can prevent and reduce the risk of hearing loss.4 Engaging in a healthy lifestyle and eating healthy diets high in dietary fiber and low in processed foods or following a Mediterranean-style diet may also help.4 Additionally, maintaining glucose levels to a target range and getting annual checkups can help prevent hearing loss.5


1. Quick Statistics About Hearing | NIDCD. Published March 25, 2021. Accessed June 1, 2023. https://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/statistics/quick-statistics-hearing
2. Diabetes and Hearing Loss | ADA. Accessed May 31, 2023. https://diabetes.org/diabetes/diabetes-and-hearing-loss
3. Bainbridge KE, Hoffman HJ, Cowie CC. Diabetes and Hearing Impairment in the United States: Audiometric Evidence from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 1999 to 2004. Ann Intern Med. 2008;149(1):1-10. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-149-1-200807010-00231
4. Samocha-Bonet D, Wu B, Ryugo DK. Diabetes Mellitus and Hearing Loss: A Review. Ageing Res Rev. 2021;71:101423. doi:10.1016/j.arr.2021.101423
5. Diabetes and Hearing Loss. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Published May 27, 2022. Accessed June 2, 2023. https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/managing/diabetes-hearing-loss.html



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