Hearing loss is normally associated with old age but new research indicates that patients with diabetes may have an increased risk for hearing problems, no matter how old they are.
Government researchers studied hearing test results from thousands of study participants and compared the data to each participant's diabetes status. High frequency hearing problems were the most common, but all frequencies tested showed some hearing loss. Hearing loss was evident as early as age 30.
The researchers also found that participants with higher than normal blood sugar, but not diabetes, had a 30% higher rate of hearing loss compared to those with normal sugar. Researchers speculate that diabetes leads to hearing loss by damaging the nerves and blood vessels in the inner ear, but more research is needed.