Di­a­betes & hear­ing loss Con­trol your di­a­betes to limit risks

Though not as well known as neu­ropa­thy in the hands and feet, hear­ing loss can be a com­pli­ca­tion of un­con­trolled di­a­betes

Diabetic Living - - Contents -


Ed Weins­berg wasn’t sur­prised when he de­vel­oped burn­ing sen­sa­tions in his feet in 2006. His health care provider had told him he might ex­pe­ri­ence this sign of pe­riph­eral neu­ropa­thy, a side ef­fect of his re­cently di­ag­nosed type 2. Med­i­ca­tion helped re­duce the sen­sa­tions. But a few years ago, Ed, 67, a for­mer rabbi and au­thor, be­gan to ex­pe­ri­ence frus­trat­ing hear­ing prob­lems.

“Ev­ery sen­tence be­gan with, ‘What did you say?’” he says. “My ear, nose and throat doc­tor wasn’t sure what was be­hind it.” By then Ed had al­ready lost 50 per cent of his hear­ing in his left ear. “But I sus­pected there might be a con­nec­tion with my di­a­betes,” he says. “I know it re­duces blood flow to other parts of the body.”

Ed was onto some­thing. Re­search shows peo­ple with un­con­trolled type 1 or type

2 are twice as likely as oth­ers to ex­pe­ri­ence hear­ing loss. In a large study of peo­ple aged 20-69 by the Na­tional In­sti­tute of Di­a­betes and Di­ges­tive and Kid­ney Dis­eases (US), a strong as­so­ci­a­tion was found be­tween di­a­betes and hear­ing prob­lems, emerg­ing as early as age 30.

An­other study, from Henry Ford Hospi­tal in De­troit, reached much the same con­clu­sion. Re­searchers found in women younger than 60, hear­ing was worse among those with type 1 or type 2 com­pared with women with­out di­a­betes, says study coau­thor Kath­leen Yarem­chuk. And women ages 60-75 with poorly con­trolled di­a­betes had sig­nif­i­cantly worse hear­ing than those whose di­a­betes was con­sid­ered well-con­trolled.

“When you think about com­pli­ca­tions of di­a­betes, this is not what you think about,” says Joanne Rinker from the North Carolina Di­a­betes Pre­ven­tion and Con­trol Branch. “But one in three peo­ple with di­a­betes will have trou­ble with their hear­ing

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