For most us, November means we are one step closer to Thanksgiving, but for others, November is Diabetes Awareness Month. In fact, diabetes is recognized worldwide on November 14th with World Diabetes Day.
In order to raise awareness, we’d like to bring attention to the connection between diabetes and hearing loss, as well as share some tips for how to prevent and address diabetes-related hearing loss.
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, and while this number is significant, the number of Americans suffering from hearing loss is even greater: 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 diabetes and hearing loss, those with diabetes should take measures to prevent, as well as treat, diabetes-related hearing loss.
Measures for Preventing Diabetes-Related Hearing Loss
Here are just three steps you can take to do your part in preventing diabetes-related hearing loss.
1. Track your blood sugar levels.
The first step in preventing diabetes-related 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 the connection between diabetes-related hearing loss and blood sugar levels is not yet fully understood, tracking your blood sugar levels is an essential part of maintaining your health with diabetes. Visit the American Diabetes Association to learn more.
2. Refrain from smoking.
The National Institute of Health recommends against smoking because it has the capacity to damage your overall health, as it can negatively impact your brain, heart, and lungs, to name a few. But more specifically, 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, while another study found that smoking can exacerbate certain forms of hearing loss, namely 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 noise-induced hearing loss is preventable, and as such, you should take the preventative measures necessary 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 Diabetes-Related Hearing Loss
The most common type of hearing loss is sensorineural hearing loss, which results in permanent damage to the inner ear. Unfortunately, this permanent damage leads to irreparable hearing loss, but if you suspect that you are suffering from diabetes-related hearing loss, there is hope.
Advanced Affordable Hearing is here to help you hear better at a price you can afford. To get started on your journey to hearing better, visit our Online Hearing Check, or call our friendly customer representatives at 1 1 (800) 804-0434 to get a general sense of your hearing loss and find the right hearing aids for you.
Hoping to learn more? Contact us now.
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