Type 2 diabetes is another way of saying your body is not functioning properly and something has to change. To put it more precisely, it signals that your pancreas is not producing enough insulin or your body has become resistant to the hormone. Insulin is a chemical that regulates blood sugar, the main sugar found in your blood.
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Without this moderating effect, blood sugar levels continue to rise.
Rising blood sugar levels can seriously damage parts of your body, including your feet and your eyes.
When this destructive process happens, you may experience a range of unsettling symptoms.
One sign is associated with your hearing.
Evidence has shown that hearing loss may signal type 2 diabetes.
In fact, a study by the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, found a strong and consistent link between impaired hearing and diabetes.
After analysing the results of hearing tests given to a nationally representative sample of working-age adults in American, the investigators found participants with diabetes or pre-diabetes were more likely to have at least mild hearing loss in their ability to hear low-to-mid and high-frequency tones compared to people without diabetes.
Furthermore, researchers from the Tsukuba University Hospital Mito Medical Center in Ibaraki, Japa, found that hearing loss is more than twice as common in people with diabetes than in non-diabetics.
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The team studied the results of 13 studies involving nearly 8,800 people with hearing impairment and 23,839 people without impaired hearing.
Of those with hearing problems, they found more than 1,000 had diabetes, compared to just under 2,500 of those with normal hearing, indicating that diabetic patients are 2.3 times more likely to suffer from mild hearing loss.
What is behind the link?
According to Diabetes.co.uk, it is unknown exactly why hearing loss is more common among people with diabetes, although autopsy studies of diabetes patients suggest this association is caused by neuropathy (nerve damage), which is a common complication of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
“Researchers believe prolonged high blood glucose levels may lead to hearing loss by affecting the supply of blood or oxygen to the tiny nerves and blood vessels of the inner ear,” explains the health body.
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It adds: “Over time, the nerves and blood vessels become damaged, affecting the person’s ability to hear.”
How to address it
If your hearing loss is the result of diabetes and high blood sugar levels, treatment will in part focus on lowering your blood sugar levels.
There are two key components to stabilising blood sugar levels.
Eating a healthy, balanced diet that avoids food and drink that sends your blood sugar levels soaring is integral.
Following the general principles of a healthy diet, such as plenty of fruit and veg and cutting back on sugary culprits should suffice.
One key caveat is to cut down on carbohydrates.
Carbohydrate is broken down into blood sugar relatively quickly and therefore has a more pronounced effect on blood sugar levels than either fat or protein.
The other key component is to regularly engage in moderate-intensity exercise.
The NHS says to aim for at least 2.5 hours of moderate-intensity exercise a week.
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