Kevin T. Barlow, Au.D.
You’re probably aware of hearing loss and diabetes – both common public-health challenges – but did you know these two conditions can go hand in hand? Hearing loss is more than doubly prevalent among those with diabetes, offering yet another reason to stay atop your regular hearing checkups.
Nearly 10% of people in the U.S. have diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association. Though it’s a chronic metabolic disease that isn’t yet curable, diabetes can be managed. Left uncontrolled, however, it may lead to other problems such as cardiovascular disease, kidney damage, and hearing loss.
How exactly are hearing loss and diabetes linked? The science isn’t yet conclusive on all the ways and whys, but research has identified poor blood flow to the inner ear as a culprit in hearing loss among diabetic patients.
One significant finding is that hearing impairment is 2.1 times as common among adults with diabetes — regardless of age, according to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism in 2013. In addition, the American Diabetes Associates estimates the rate of hearing loss to be 30% greater among prediabetic U.S. adults.
Diabetes-linked hearing issues commonly affect high-frequency hearing, potentially making it harder to understand speech in noise. Indeed, diabetes may play a role in hearing loss, but you can fight back by helping reduce your overall risk of hearing impairment.
Some prevention tips:
Manage your diabetes if you have it, using strategies created with your medical doctor.
Reduce exposure to excess noise, one of the most preventable causes of hearing loss.
Eat a balanced, nutritious diet, which contributes to better ear functioning.
Avoid tobacco use, a risk factor for cancer, hearing loss, and many other problems.
Stay physically active, because excess weight not only ups the risk of diabetes but can tax your hearing.
Have your hearing evaluated by a licensed audiologist at least once a year — just like regular eye and teeth care — for early testing, detection, and treatment of any problems.
Diabetes-associated hearing loss could affect one or both ears, may occur suddenly or gradually, and could appear with or without balance problems of the inner ear, but routine professional hearing checks can help catch potential issues early. So don’t wait. If you have diabetes, seek a hearing screening to help support your better health today.
CHECK YOUR HEARING
• Do people around you seem to be mumbling?
• Are you often reading lips to follow conversations?
• Do loved ones complain about your TV volume?
• Are you experiencing humming, buzzing, or ringing in your ears?
• Do you have a difficult time hearing the doorbell?
• Do you miss key words in a sentence?
• Do you frequently ask people to repeat themselves?
• Is it challenging to understand others on the phone?
If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you might be experiencing some hearing loss.Schedule a professional hearing exam.
CALL TODAY to schedule your appointment 863.594.1976
Winter Haven Audiology
510 1st St S | Winter Haven
704 SR 60 E | Lake Wales
Horikawa C et al. Diabetes and Risk of Hearing Impairment in Adults: A Meta-Analysis. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. 2013;98(1):51–58. American Diabetes Association. Statistics About Diabetes. http://www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/statistics/. Accessed June 6, 2019. American Diabetes Association. Diabetes and Hearing Loss. http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/treatment-and-care/seniors/diabetes-and-hearing-loss.html. June 6, 2019. The Hearing Review. Annual Audiological Evaluations
Should Be Mandatory for Patients with Diabetes. http://www.hearingreview.com/2015/12/annual-audiological-evaluations-mandatory-patients-diabetes/. Accessed June 6, 2019.