The American Diabetes Association recognizes November as American Diabetes Month
November is annually recognized by The American Diabetes Association to be American Diabetes Month. It is a chance to remind people of the vast impact of diabetes & to educate people about its prevention & management. It is an epidemic. There is no cure. But there are resources to lessen its impacts on our lives & no one need to suffer through it on their own.
Diabetes & Hearing Loss
Diabetes is a disease defined by the failure of the pancreas to produce enough insulin to adequately regulate blood sugar. This blood sugar concentrates in the bloodstream, potentially damaging the liver, kidneys, heart, eyes, blood vessels & nerves. More than 35 million Americans live with diabetes & another 88 million have pre-diabetes, meaning that they will have full-blown diabetes within a decade if they do not take corrective measures to their health & lifestyle.
There are two types of diabetes. Type 1 means that someone was born with it & this accounts for less than 10% of all cases. The other 90-95% of diabetes cases are Type 2 & this can come on at any age. Management of blood sugar levels is critical & failure to keep up with it can lead to many complications, including hearing loss. Studies show that hearing loss is twice as common among those with diabetes & 30% more likely to impact the pre-diabetic.
It is hard to get an exact figure, but it is widely presumed that hearing loss is among the only health conditions in The United States even more common than diabetes, effecting an estimated 13% of the adult population. This percentage increases with age for a tremendous number of reasons. Less than three out of every 1,000 babies are born with a congenital hearing problem, but by the age of 75 a staggering more than 50% of all adults have some degree of measurable dialing hearing loss.
There are all kinds of reasons for hearing loss. Most commonly it is the simple degradation of aging, the consequences of poor hearing health habits normalized either by a preferred recreational activity such as frequenting roaring sports events or loud clubs or a job in a dangerously loud injury such as factory work or construction. Sometimes it is the result of a single accident, such as proximity to a loud explosion or regular exposure to a dangerous chemical. But more & more it is becoming clear that many of these people suffering from hearing loss & these people living with diabetes are doing both at the same time.
Diabetes & hearing loss have a lot in common. They are both impossible to recognize from afar. And they are both difficult for someone to recognize in themselves except for their symptoms, which often come on so gradually that they are often difficult to recognize.
Anyone might be likely to attribute the common symptoms of diabetes to just feeling a little off one day or results of one’s environment. And then these symptoms become normalized: Frequent urination, often at night, unquenchable thirst, insatiable hunger, persistent exhaustion, dry skin.
The symptoms of hearing loss are just as simple to overlook: turning up the volume on the radio or television, trouble following conversations especially with multiple people or in a location with background noise, asking people to repeat themselves & feeling like people are mumbling.
This subtlety that the two conditions share is exactly why you should keep up with testing for one if you know that you suffer from the other.
What Causes this Correlation Between Diabetes & Hearing Loss?
A 2008 study looked at data from hearing tests conducted on adults between the ages of 20 & 69 & proved that diabetes causes hearing loss by damaging the blood vessels & nerves that the delicate systems of our inner ears depend upon. This is similar to diabetes’ damaging effects on the eyes & kidneys. Closely managing one’s blood sugar levels reduces the risks of any of this potential damage. This is why it is vital to meticulously follow your diabetes treatment plan, monitor your condition, and regularly see your doctor. But questions do remain about the exact cause of the correlation, for example, why do women with diabetes seem more prone to hearing difficulties?
Both diabetes & hearing loss are manageable but present great threats to overall health if they are not treated with daily attention & care. Make an appointment today with one of our hearing health specialists to guarantee that you know the exact right steps to help you manage your specific needs before they increase.