Diabetes And Hearing Loss Essay

Length: 9 pages Sources: 9 Subject: Disease Type: Essay Paper: #40141784 Related Topics: Diabetes Mellitus, Diabetes, Kidney Failure, Chronic Kidney Disease

Excerpt from Essay :

¶ … Diabetes Has on Hearing Diabetes is regarded one of the major health concerns in the United States given the increase of diabetes cases throughout the country. In the past few decades, diabetes has continued to affect adults and children in the United States. The increase of this condition has been associated with several considerable impacts since it generates numerous medical and related phenomena in the American society. One of the medical phenomena generated by diabetes is hearing loss given that diabetes changes the hearing of many people in America. This paper focuses on examining the perceptual phenomenon of hearing changes brought by diabetes. This analysis will include a discussion of what it feels to live with the effect of diabetes and hearing loss among Americans. The other elements included in this article is methods for prevention, treatment, and cure of hearing impairments from diabetes as well as dangers of having hearing loss brought by diabetes, and statistics on likelihood of hearing loss.

Overview of Diabetes

According to Born (n.d.), diabetes has become a growing concern throughout the world with an increase of diabetes related cases by 4.1% since 1985. There are currently 285 million people suffering from diabetes and it is estimated that this number will increase to 438 million by 2030. Diabetes cases are not only reported among adults but also children with 18.8 million diagnosed cases and 7 million undiagnosed. In the United States, diabetes is among the top ten causes of death in the country with more than 24 million people afflicted. These statistics indicate that the prevalence of this disease is increasing, which contributes to its consideration as a true epidemic.

Parker (n.d.), defines diabetes as a group of metabolic illnesses that are characterized by increased blood sugar levels and changes or irregularities in insulin secretion and action (p.22). Due to these irregularities, the metabolism of protein, carbohydrate, and fat is altered. As a result, these nutrients remain in blood-stream instead of being integrated into cells to provide structural elements and offer nourishment. Since these nutrients are not incorporated into cells, they buildup and eventually generate micro and macro-vascular damage as well as failure of the organ system. Therefore, the buildup of these substances can be simply described as the incident of cellular starvation when there is plenty.

There are different kinds of diabetes that differ in relation to their causes, severity, and impact on personal health. The first type of diabetes is Type I diabetes, which is an autoimmune disease where the body does not generate adequate insulin. This type of diabetes is associated with young adults and children who need to take daily insulin as part of the treatment. The second type of this disease is Type II diabetes, which is a metabolic disorder brought by the body's inability to produce adequate or properly utilize insulin. The condition is associated with various factors including older age and previous history of gestational diabetes. In addition to this there is pre-diabetes condition, a stage where blood glucose levels are higher than normal though they do not reach the level of a diabetes diagnosis. The pre-diabetes condition increases the likelihood of developing Type II diabetes and cardiovascular diseases (Born, n.d.).

Impact of Diabetes on Hearing

Diabetes mellitus has considerable impacts on body systems such as cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, nerve disease, renopathy or kidney disease, and increased vulnerability to infection. According to Parker (n.d.), both types of diabetes can significantly damage blood vessels and nerves across the body in a manner that is irreversible. Some of the common severe incidents related to diabetes include eye damage, impotence, heart attack, stroke, kidney failure, and vascular inadequacy. This implies that no vessels in the body are immune to the external impacts of uncontrolled diabetes.

Diabetes mellitus is also the leading cause of hearing impairments and loss of Americans with diabetes. Recent statistics and studies have indicated that patients with diabetes have hearing impairments and loss as compared to those who don't suffer from the disorder. Despite the limited availability of studies regarding the link between diabetes and hearing loss, the


Based on the findings of recent researches, approximately 16% i.e. 30 million Americans, have hearing loss (Agrawal, Platz & Niparko, 2009, p.139). Hearing loss can be described as a disabling condition that is characterized by communication difficulties that impair cognitive and emotional functioning as well as the overall quality of life. Diabetes mellitus is among the various exposures and pathophysiologic incidents that generate hearing impairments and loss. The impact of diabetes on hearing is partly attributed to the anatomy and physiology of the ear and the fact that this condition is a microvascular disease with a broad spectrum pattern of hearing changes and loss. An evaluation of the anatomic dissection of all ear compartments demonstrate a rich network of vasculature, which are increasingly susceptible to the devastating effects of prolonged elevated blood sugar. The nephron of the kidney and stria vascularis of the cochea has similar antigenic, physiologic, and ultrastructural factors that make them vulnerable to the effects of elevated blood sugar, which is caused by diabetes.

Renal inadequacy and subsequent renal failure tends to take place in secondary to vasculopathy linked to unmanaged diabetes. Therefore, it can be concluded that similar changes in the cochlea can contribute to hearing impairments and even hearing loss in individuals suffering from diabetes. The likelihood of such impacts is attributed to the increased vulnerability of the cochlea to the huge effects of diabetes. Moreover, diabetes is a renowned risk factor and poor prognostic signal for unexpected sensorineural hearing impairments and loss. Diabetes mellitus also generate hearing-related changes through producing chronic and recalcitrant infections, which are symptoms of unmanaged diabetes.

Diabetes is accompanied by pathologic changes that damage the neural and the vasculature system of the inner ear and results in various kinds of hearing impairments and even hearing loss. Some of these pathologic changes include sclerosis of the inner auditory artery, atrophy of the spinal ganglion, demyelination of the eighth cranial nerve, and thickened capillaries of the stria vascularis (Bainbridge, Hoffman & Cowie, 2008, p.1). There are several characteristics related to hearing loss from diabetes including the fact that it is permanent and progressive. This kind of hearing loss or impairment is also bilateral (i.e. affects both ears), sensorineural impairment or changes, characterized by a gradual onset, and largely affect the higher frequencies.

How Diabetes is Changing the Hearing of Americans

Hearing impairments and loss is reported by over 17% of adults in the United States making it to become one of the major public health concerns that impacts over 36 million people. There are various factors attributed to the increase in hearing loss and impairment including diabetes mellitus. Diabetes mellitus is changing the hearing of many Americans since it affects approximately 9.6% of the United States population and generates microvascular and neuropathic complications that affect various systems of the body. Actually, diabetes changes the hearing of many Americans through its ability to affect the kidney, retina, and peripheral nerves and arteries (Bainbridge, Hoffman & Cowie, 2008, p.1).

The impact of hearing changes on Americans due to diabetes is evident across all age groups in the United States though the prevalence of hearing changes and hearing loss differs significantly on the basis of sex and race. Hearing loss brought by diabetes among Americans has been constantly increasing since 1958 as diabetic patients are twice as much likely to suffer from hearing impairments as compared to non-diabetic patients. Notably, the increased risk of Americans with diabetes to suffer from hearing impairments or hearing loss is regardless of the age of the diabetic patient (Helzner, 2014).

The most common categories of hearing loss that diabetic patients in America are likely to experience include conductive, sensorineural, and mixed categories. Conductive category entails temporary or permanent hearing changes to outer or middle ear whereas sensorineural category refers to relatively permanent hearing impairments on the cochlea and/or auditory nerve. The mixed hearing loss category refers to hearing changes that involve a mixture of conductive and sensorineural categories. The other categories of hearing loss include unilateral or bilateral, symmetrical or asymmetrical, sudden or gradual, and central processing disorders (Born, n.d.).

Statistics on Diabetic Hearing Loss in the United States

The link between diabetes and hearing loss or damage is an issue that has attracted considerable attention and debates for many decades, especially within the health care sector. Generally, the link between diabetes and hearing loss has attracted considerable attention among researchers given the limited availability of existing literature and studies on the topic. Actually, there is limited literature about the impact of diabetes on hearing loss or hearing impairments. Despite the limited existing literature, studies that have been carried out to examine the relationship between diabetes and hearing loss have generated different results regarding the existence of this link.

Based on the findings of their studies, some researchers…

Sources Used in Documents:


Agrawal, Y., Platz, E.A. & Niparko, J.K. (2009). Risk Factors for Hearing Loss in U.S. Adults:

Data From the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 1999 to 2002. Otology & Neurotology, 30, 139-145.

Austin et. al. (2009, September). Diabetes-Related Changes in Hearing. Laryngoscope, 119,


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