Hearing, Balance, and Diabetes


Did you know that hearing and balance systems can also be impacted in a person with diabetes? As a person with diabetes, it is important to monitor your hearing and balance because you are more at risk to develop issues with your hearing and balance. 


How can diabetes impact hearing and balance?

Our hearing and balance system are housed in the same organ called the cochlea. One section of this organ is in charge of hearing and transmitting information to the brain. Another section of this organ is in charge of balance and transmitting this information to the brain. There are several theories as to why a person with diabetes is at an increased risk for hearing loss compared to those without. One theory is that when a person has diabetes if their blood sugar is too high or too low it can damage the nerves associated with this organ. Even people with prediabetes are more prone to hearing loss than those people who are not. 


A person with diabetes is also more at risk for SUDDEN hearing loss. This is a hearing loss that happens quickly. It is important to reach out to a hearing care professional as soon as possible to treat this type of hearing loss. 


How to monitor hearing and balance difficulties with diabetes? 

Because people with disabilities are at risk they should pay close attention to any changes in hearing and balance. A sudden hearing loss is a cause for immediate action and treatment see a hearing care professional immediately! 


Other changes to watch:

  • Asking others to repeat themselves frequently 
  • Struggling in group conversations 
  • Difficulty hearing on the telephone 
  • Ringing in your ears
  • Sudden loss of balance
  • Experiencing abnormal vertigo or a lightheaded spinning feeling


Treatment for hearing loss and balance difficulties? 

It is very important for a person with diabetes to control their blood sugar. By managing your diabetes you can help perturb the risk of hearing loss and balance difficulties. Protect your hearing by wearing hearing protective devices in harmful environmental noise (concerts, factories, gun ranges, etc).  If you do notice any hearing or balance difficulties it is best to reach out to your hearing care professional to get the best treatment plan.