February 26, 2024

Check Your Hearing This November for American Diabetes Month

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November is American Diabetes Month, a national campaign dedicated to raising awareness of diabetes and promoting ways to safeguard your health. With over 34 million people affected by diabetes, it's crucial to understand its impact on various aspects of well-being, including hearing health. Research indicates that individuals with diabetes, as well as those who are prediabetic, face a heightened risk of developing hearing loss. Nearly 48 million people live with hearing loss, making it a significant concern for those with diabetes.

Impact of Diabetes on Hearing

Studies have established a clear link between diabetes and hearing loss. Research suggests that diabetes can affect the auditory system, which includes the ears and brain's ability to process sound. A notable study conducted by the National Institutes of Health in 2008 analyzed data from over 11,000 participants aged 20-69. The findings revealed a significant correlation between diabetes and hearing loss:

  • 54% of individuals with diabetes experienced high-frequency hearing loss compared to 32% of those without diabetes.
  • 21% of individuals with diabetes had mid-frequency hearing loss, whereas only 9% of those without diabetes experienced it.

These findings highlight the impact of diabetes on blood vessels, including those in the inner ear. Damage to these blood vessels can disrupt the function of thousands of hair cells in the inner ear responsible for converting soundwaves into electrical signals processed by the brain.

Know the Signs of Hearing Loss

Recognizing the signs of hearing loss is essential for early intervention and treatment. Common symptoms include:

  • Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
  • Muffled or distorted sounds
  • Difficulty following conversations, especially in noisy environments
  • Increased volume on electronic devices
  • Asking others to repeat themselves frequently

If you notice any of these signs, it's crucial to have your hearing evaluated promptly to prevent further deterioration.

Tips to Protect Hearing Health

There are several proactive steps you can take to preserve your hearing health:

  • Schedule regular hearing tests to monitor your hearing status.
  • Reduce exposure to loud noise by lowering volume levels on electronic devices and using hearing protection in noisy environments.
  • Wear protective gear such as headphones or earplugs to minimize the impact of loud noise on your ears.

American Diabetes Month serves as a timely reminder to prioritize your overall health, including your hearing. Take the first step by contacting us to schedule a comprehensive hearing test today!

Dr. Teague earned his Bachelor of Science Degree in Hearing, Speech and Language from Ohio University and his Doctoral Degree in Audiology from The University of Louisville. He is an active member of the American Academy of Audiology and the Ohio Board of Audiology.

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