Diabetes is a disease characterized by elevated blood glucose levels. People with diabetes often develop hypertension, high cholesterol, and other cardiovascular diseases. Diabetes affects about 10% of adults in the United States and about 40% of these cases are undiagnosed.
For many years the relationship between diabetes and hearing loss was unclear. In recent years, several large-scale studies have confirmed that diabetes is indeed a significant risk factor for hearing loss. Individuals with diabetes are 30% more likely to have hearing loss and this trend is more noticeable in younger adults. In addition, the severity of hearing loss may be related to the severity of diabetes.
Among adults with diabetes between the ages of 50 and 69 years, about 70% have a high frequency hearing loss. It also appears that persons with diabetes develop hearing loss at earlier ages. Because diabetes is a significant factor for hearing loss, anyone with diabetes should be tested for hearing loss. Treating and controlling diabetes may also reduce the severity of hearing loss.
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