November is Diabetes Awareness Month. One thing you may not know about diabetes is that research shows diabetics are more likely to develop hearing loss than those without the disease.
There are three types of diabetes, which include:
- Type 1 Diabetes: An autoimmune reaction that causes the body to stop producing insulin. Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in childhood or young adulthood.
- Type 2 Diabetes: The body produces insulin but is unable to use it well causing problems with blood sugar levels. Type 2 diabetes is possible at any age but is more commonly found in adults.
- Gestational Diabetes: Develops while a person is pregnant, and usually goes away once they give birth.
Quick Facts on Diabetes
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) :
- Over 34 million people in the United States have diabetes and an estimated 20% of those people do not know they have the disease.
- One in three Americans have prediabetes and the vast majority (84%) are unaware of it.
- Diabetes is the 7th leading cause of death in the United States.
If you experience symptoms like frequent urination, increased thirst and/or hunger, sleepiness, weight loss, blurred vision, difficulty in concentrating and slow healing of infections, we recommend you see a doctor immediately. The sooner a diagnosis is made the better the prognosis.
Diabetes Increases Hearing Loss Risk
Research has shown that having diabetes increases a person’s risk of hearing loss regardless of age. While the exact reasoning is unknown, it is thought that high blood sugar from diabetes damages the small blood vessels in the inner ear. This damage affects circulation to the hair cells in the ear, which play a vital role in the hearing process. Lack of circulation can cause them to degrade and no longer work, which contributes to hearing loss.
How to Protect Your Hearing Health
Though you can’t reverse any damage that has already happened, you can take steps to protect your hearing.
- Stay active. Physical activity is one of the best ways to manage diabetes symptoms and helps improve circulation throughout the body. Taking a yoga class or walking through Sunset Cliffs Park Trail can greatly benefit every part of your body, including your ears.
- Schedule a hearing test. Much like diabetes, the sooner hearing loss is properly diagnosed the more effective treatment will be.
- Wear your hearing aids and schedule regular checkups with your hearing specialist.
If you have questions or concerns about hearing loss or wish to schedule an appointment with a hearing expert, call San Diego ENT today.