Anyone who struggles with diabetes — or knows someone who does — realizes what a life-altering condition it can be. Unfortunately, it can also have serious negative effects on a person’s hearing. Dealing with diabetes should, in no uncertain terms, also mean being on the lookout for the development of hearing issues.

The underlying challenge is that diabetes negatively impacts blood flow and the delivery of nutrients throughout the body. And human ears, sturdy as they are, require significant nutrition and can be permanently damaged by interruptions in its delivery.

An aspect of this is that the stereocilia, the microscopic hairs deep inside the inner ear, do not regrow once they have been damaged. And any prolonged loss of nutrients is one thing that can damage them.

Diabetes can do this in two ways. First, when glucose — the critical transporter of energy in the bloodstream — is not delivered to the stereocilia their health declines. And diabetes is basically a malfunctioning of glucose delivery by the circulatory system.

Secondly, strong fluctuations in glucose can eventually harm blood vessels themselves, thereby making them less efficient over the long-term — even when glucose levels are normal in the short-term. Degraded infrastructure adds to the challenges faced by the apparatus of the inner ear.

According to current understanding, diabetes is believed to double the likelihood that someone develops hearing problems. This is yet another reason to take the condition extremely seriously. It may be a chore to manage it, but not doing so will simply lead to more and more health issues, including the possibility of hearing loss.