For most of us, November means we’re one step closer to Thanksgiving, but for others, it’s Diabetes Awareness Month. In fact, on November 14th, the disease is recognized worldwide on World Diabetes Day.
In order to raise awareness, we’d like to draw attention to the connection between diabetes and hearing loss. We’ll also share some tips for how you can work to prevent as much damage to your hearing as possible.
How are Diabetes and Hearing Loss Connected?
According to the American Diabetes Association, over 30 million people suffer from diabetes in the U.S. alone. While this number is significant, the number of Americans suffering from hearing loss is even greater at an estimated 34.5 million.
What many may not know, however, is that diabetes and hearing loss may be connected. In 2013, a meta-analysis exploring this link was published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology. Through a synthesis of 13 studies, researchers found that diabetics were 2.15 times more likely to be diagnosed with hearing loss than non-diabetics.
Unfortunately, both diabetes and hearing loss have the capacity to negatively impact one’s quality of life. Considering the connection between the two conditions, those with diabetes would benefit from taking action to prevent hearing loss.
Measures for Preventing Hearing Loss
Here are three steps you can take to reduce your risk for hearing loss.
1. Track your blood sugar levels.
The first step to preventing hearing loss is to continue doing your best to manage your diabetes, which means tracking your blood sugar levels. “Some but not all studies have shown an increased risk of hearing impairment with increasing levels of blood glucose,” says Catherine Cowie, PhD and MPH, in an article by OnTrackDiabetes.
While the connection between hearing loss and blood sugar levels has yet to be fully understood, tracking your blood sugar levels is an essential part of maintaining your health with diabetes. Learn more by visiting the American Diabetes Association.
2. Refrain from smoking.
The National Institute of Health recommends against smoking because it has the capacity to damage your overall health. In fact, smoking can negatively impact a majority of your vital organs, including your brain, heart, and lungs. Likewise, research has identified smoking as a risk factor for hearing loss.
One meta-analysis of 166 studies found a positive relationship between smoking and hearing loss. More specifically, another study found that smoking can exacerbate noise-induced hearing loss. Thus, especially if you have a preexisting health condition, like diabetes, smoking is inadvisable if you hope to prevent hearing loss.
3. Protect your hearing.
Whether or not you have diabetes, exposure to damaging sound levels puts you at risk for noise-induced hearing loss. The good news is that you can prevent the potential impact of exposure to loud noises by taking measures to protect the hearing you have.
Common preventative measures include: Bring earplugs to events, or environments, with damaging sounds levels, such as concerts. Wear the appropriate hearing protection for certain activities or jobs, like hunting or construction work. Finally, refrain from wearing headphones for extended periods of time with at a high volume.
Treating Your Hearing Loss
The most common type of hearing loss type is sensorineural, which results in permanent damage to the inner ear. Unfortunately, this damage is irreparable. However, if you suspect that you are experiencing hearing damage related to your diabetes, there is hope.
Advanced Affordable Hearing is here to help you hear better at a price you can afford. To get start your journey to hearing better, visit our Online Hearing Check to get a general sense of your hearing loss. That way, you can find the right hearing aids for you.
Hoping to learn more? Contact us today.