It can be very easy to treat our hearing as something that exists wholly apart from the rest of our bodily function. Aside for feeling a little stopped up in the case of allergies or a cold, our ears don’t tend to bother us often when we’re ill. But the fact is, important aspects of your hearing your hearing are fed by your bloodstream, which connects everything about your body.
According to researchers, this is especially true for people with diabetes, who are twice as likely to develop hearing loss than people without diabetes. As a matter of fact, since hearing tests aren’t included in the annual health exams of most people, some believe that diabetes-related hearing loss may be an often-overlooked complication of the disease.
The findings out there are compelling. Here are just two instances:
Given the increased incidence of hearing loss among diabetics, we’d like to share some hearing health tips for people who are dealing with the condition:
Have your hearing checked annually. This is a wise choice for anybody. Because hearing loss tends to come on very slowly, making it hard to detect until it begins to be a quality-of-life problem. The likelihood of hearing loss among people with diabetes makes those annual checks even more important.
If you need hearing aids, use them. Don’t deny yourself better hearing simply because you think there’s a stigma attached to hearing aids. Contemporary technology provides options that range from hardly noticeable hearing aids, to completely invisible ones that sit deep in the ear canal.
Keep your blood sugar under control. If you or a loved one have diabetes, you certainly don’t need to be told this, but it’s worth mentioning here. If you’re only just learning about the connection between hearing loss and diabetes, add concern for your hearing to the list that already includes your heart, eyes and nerves.
Maintain a healthy lifestyle. Another good idea for everyone, actually. Eat a healthy diet and be sure to exercise regularly. Research indicates that obesity may increase the likelihood of hearing loss and that regular exercise might actually decrease the risk.
Use ear protection. Exposure to loud noises is a major contributor to hearing loss. If you work around loud machinery, operate loud lawn equipment or power tools at home, or find yourself regularly in other situations where there is a great deal of noise, we strongly urge you to wear some ear protection. Another, and more simple, way to protect against noise-induced hearing loss is to keep the volume of earbuds and other electronics at a reasonable level.
Whether you have diabetes or not, please do not be among the majority of people who do nothing when they find out about their hearing loss. It has been shown that when people pursue a solution to their hearing trouble, quality of life tends to improve.
1 Mitchell P et al. Ear Hear. 2011; 32(2): 251-257
2 Canadian Institute for Health Information. International Comparisons: A Focus on Diabetes.
3 Statistics Canada: www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/82-003-x/2015007/article/14206-eng.htm
4 Bainbridge KE et al. Ann Intern Med. 2008; 149:1-10
5 American Diabetes Association: Living with Hearing Loss: www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/treatment-and-care/seniors/
6 National Institutes of Health: www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/hearing-loss-common-people-diabetes
7 Crews RT et al. J Aging Res. 2013; 2013: Article ID 342650
8 Better Hearing Institute: www.betterhearing.org/news/smart-diabetes-management-includes-routine-hearing-tests
9 Hirose K. Ann Intern Med. 2008; 148:54-55
10 Better Hearing Institute: www.betterhearing.org/news/smart-diabetes-management-includes-routine-hearing-tests