Hearing Loss & Diabetes

Did you know that diabetes can harm your hearing and your balance?

The Centers for Disease Control and the American Diabetes Association recognize the importance of audiology management and monitoring in diabetes care.

The good news is you can take steps to hear well and reduce your risk of falls.

How Can Diabetes Harm Your Ears? Diabetes damages small blood vessels in your inner ear and your vestibular system, which is the part of your inner ear that helps with balance. It can make it harder for signals related to hearing and balance to get to your brain. Hearing loss is more common in people with diabetes and you are more likely to fall if you have diabetes because of damage to your vestibular system.

What You Should Know About Hearing Loss & Diabetes

    • Hearing loss can make you appear confused or as if you are not paying attention.
    • Uncorrected hearing loss can make you feel depressed or anxious.
    • Family and friends may be aware of your hearing loss before you are.
    • Hearing loss affects how you communicate at work, with family, and with your health care team.

What to do:

Ask your health care team to help you set and reach goals to manage your blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol and stop smoking—also known as the ABCs of diabetes.

    • A1C (a measure of your average blood sugar over 3 months): The goal set for many people is less than 7% for this blood test, but your doctor might set a different goal for you.
    • Blood pressure: High blood pressure causes heart disease. The goal is less than 140/90 mmHg for most people but check with your doctor to see what your goal should be.
    • Cholesterol: LDL or “bad” cholesterol builds up and clogs your blood vessels. HDL or “good” cholesterol helps remove the “bad” cholesterol from your blood vessels. Ask your doctor what your cholesterol numbers should be.
    • Smoking: If you smoke or use other tobacco products, take steps to quit. Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784- 8669) for support.