Diabetes and hearing loss are two of America’s most widespread health concerns. Nearly 26 million people in the U.S. have diabetes, and an estimated 34.5 million have some type of hearing loss.

Is there a link?

Yes, says the National Institutes of Health (NIH). In fact, the NIH has found that hearing loss is twice as common in people with diabetes as it is in those who don’t have the disease. Also, of the 79 million adults thought to have prediabetes, the rate of hearing loss is 30% higher than in those with normal blood sugar.

How does diabetes contribute to hearing loss?

Hearing depends on small blood vessels and nerves in the inner ear. Researchers believe that, over time, high blood glucose levels can damage these vessels and nerves, diminishing the ability to hear.

What should I do if I suspect a hearing loss?

Talk to your audiologist. From a full hearing exam, you’ll learn more about your hearing loss. You will also be informed of what can be done to treat it. For most people, hearing loss happens over time. The symptoms can be hard to notice. Quite often, family members and friends notice hearing loss before the person experiencing it.

Common signs of hearing loss include:

  • Frequently asking others to repeat themselves
  • Trouble following conversations that involve more than two people
  • Thinking that others are mumbling
  • Problems hearing in noisy places such as busy restaurants
  • Trouble hearing the voices of women and small children
  • Turning up the TV or radio volume too loud for others who are nearby

What can be done to treat a hearing loss?

Treatment will depend on the type of hearing loss. The most common type of hearing loss is called “sensorineural hearing loss.” This is the kind usually found with diabetes. It cannot usually be cured. How­ever, most cases of sensorineural hearing loss can be treated with hearing aids.

How can I be sure that hearing aids will help?

Hearing aids have changed a lot in the past few years. Instead of making all sounds louder, like the old kind, newer hearing aids are better at making what you want to hear more clear. These hearing aids also have special features. They may have automatic volume control and can reduce background noise. Also, hearing aids are getting smaller and smaller. It is unlikely anyone will notice when you are wearing them. The truth is people are more likely to notice your hearing loss. People who don’t treat their hearing problems can become isolated and try to avoid their friends. On the other hand, studies show that people who wear hearing aids often have a better quality of life.

If you’re having difficulty hearing, you will likely want to schedule an appointment at the MedRx Hearing Center in Largo to meet with our audiologist. Dr. Amanda Kluzynski will utilize a tiny video camera called a video otoscope to examine the inside of your ear canal. This fascinating tool may reveal problems like ear wax accumulation, damage to the eardrum, fluid accumulation in the middle ear or other conditions that make it difficult for you to hear clearly.

Dr. Kluzynski will also be providing free consultations at the MedRx Hearing Center’s, taking the time to review your medical and hearing history. This examination will help Dr. Kluzynski evaluate the cause of your hearing difficulties, which may include hearing but not understanding certain words, having issues comprehending conversation in noisy environments like restaurants, asking people to repeat themselves or turning the TV up loud to grasp what’s being said.

The event also features free demonstrations of the new Oticon More, the first hearing aid proven to work in harmony with the brain to help people hear better with less effort and remember more of what’s being said. Developed from technological advances in the past several months, the Oticon More devices significantly reduce background noise, improve speech clarity, and can wirelessly connect to your smartphone.

To schedule a free hearing evaluation and consultation, call (727) 584-9696. Visit for more information.