Woman with diabetes thinking about hearing loss.

Studies reveal that you are twice as likely to suffer from hearing loss if you have diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association. This statistic is unexpected for people who view hearing loss as a problem associated with getting old or noise damage. In 2010, 1.9 million people were diagnosed with diabetes and nearly 500,000 of them were under the age of 44. Some form of hearing loss probably impacts at least 250,000 of the younger people with this disease.

A person’s hearing can be impaired by quite a few diseases besides diabetes. Aging is a considerable aspect both in illness and loss of hearing but what is the relationship between these conditions and ear health? Give some thought to some conditions that can lead to loss of hearing.


What the link is between diabetes and hearing loss is uncertain but clinical research appears to suggest there is one. A condition that suggests a person could develop type 2 diabetes, called prediabetes, causes people to lose their hearing 30 percent faster than people who don’t have it.

Even though there are some theories, researchers still don’t know why this takes place. It is possible that damage to the blood vessels that feed the inner ear could be triggered by high glucose levels. Diabetes is known to influence circulation, so that is a reasonable assumption.


This infectious disease causes loss of hearing. Because of infection, the membranes that cover the spine and brain swell up and that defines meningitis. Studies show that 30 percent of people will lose their hearing partially or completely if they develop this condition. Among young people in America, this infection is the second leading cause of hearing loss.

Meningitis has the potential to injure the delicate nerves that allow the inner ear to send signals to the brain. The brain has no method to interpret sound if it doesn’t get these signals.

Cardiovascular Disease

Conditions that impact the heart or blood vessels are covered under the umbrella term “cardiovascular disease”. This category contains these common diseases:

  • Stroke
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Peripheral artery disease
  • Heart attack
  • Heart failure
  • High blood pressure

Typically, cardiovascular diseases have a tendency to be linked to age-related hearing loss. The inner ear is susceptible to harm. When there is an alteration of the blood flow, it may not get the oxygen and nutrients it needs to thrive, and injury to the inner ear then leads to loss of hearing.

Chronic Kidney Disease

A 2012 study published in The Laryngoscope found that people with this condition also had an increased risk of hearing loss. A separate study found that chance to be as high as 43 percent. It is feasible that this connection is a coincidence, though. There are lots of the same risk factors with kidney disease and other conditions associated with high blood pressure.

Another possibility is that the toxins that collect in the blood due to kidney failure might be the cause. These toxins may damage the nerves in the inner ear, closing the connection it has with the brain.


Dementia and hearing loss have a two way effect on each other. A person’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease appears to be increased by cognitive deterioration. Brain shrinkage and atrophy are the causes of dementia. Trouble hearing can accelerate that process.

It also works the other way around. Somebody who has dementia even though there is normal hearing will show a decline in their hearing as injury to the brain increases.


Early in life the viral infection mumps can cause children to lose their hearing. Hearing loss may impact both ears or only one side. The reason why this occurs is the virus damages the cochlea in the inner ear. Messages are sent to the brain by this part of the ear. The good news is mumps is pretty scarce these days due to vaccinations. Not everyone will suffer from loss of hearing if they get the mumps.

Chronic Ear Infections

For the majority of people, the random ear infection is not very risky since treatment gets rid of it. However, the little bones of the inner ear or the eardrum can be seriously damaged by constantly recurring ear infections. When sound cannot reach the inner ear with enough force to deliver signals to the brain it’s called conductive hearing loss. Infections can also cause a sensorineural hearing loss, which means nerve damage.

Many of the diseases that can lead to hearing loss can be avoided by prevention. Throughout your life protecting your hearing will be achievable if you exercise regularly, get the right amount of sleep, and have a healthy diet. You should also get regular hearing exams to make sure your ears stay healthy.

The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.

Medical information dates as new research comes out all the time - if you have a concern about your hearing, please call us.

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