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Diabetes and hearing loss

Many Australians suffer from both diabetes and hearing loss

Scientists have long suspected a link between blood sugar problems and hearing loss, with new research confirming that there is definitely a link between these two increasingly common conditions.

Meta-analysis of a super study that pooled the findings of 13 studies involving more than 20,000 people has shown a strong correlation between diabetes and hearing loss, with a diabetes diagnosis doubling the chances of developing hearing loss, regardless of other risk factors, such as age and prolonged exposure to noisy environments.

The latest evidence linking sugary diets and hearing deficits follows earlier clues suggesting a sweet tooth can be damaging. An Australian study of 2,956 over-50s found that participants with the highest intake of sugar and carbohydrates (which trigger similar blood sugar spikes) have a 76% higher risk of hearing loss than those who favoured foods with a low glycaemic index which don’t trigger spikes in blood sugar levels.

Data from the US suggests that as many as 70% of people between 50 and 69 who have diabetes also have high frequency hearing loss. The findings are a wake-up call for the 1.2 million people in Australia who have been diagnosed with diabetes, and may act as a warning sign to up to 500,000 who have the condition but don’t realise it. It is a timely reminder of the importance of having our hearing tested on a regular basis, just as we do with regular dental examinations, eye tests and general health checks with our GP. As with many other health issues, the sooner you pick up any hearing issues, the more quickly they can be resolved and the better the outcome.

If you have diabetes and suspect your hearing may not be as sharp as it should be, or would just like the reassurance that comes from having a hearing test, you can book a no obligation free hearing test at Amplifon.

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