Check Your Hearing This November for American Diabetes Month

Check Your Hearing This November for American Diabetes Month

When it comes to public health, hearing loss is a significant problem. Age-related hearing loss is more common in those over 65, so this could contribute to this phenomenon. While it may take some time to adjust, most people can have whole and meaningful lives if they seek help.


Recent studies, however, reveal a link between hearing loss and diabetes, recommending people with this common illness to keep an eye on their risk of acquiring other health concerns. As it is American Diabetes Month, let’s take a closer look at the connection between hearing loss and diabetes. 


The link between hearing loss and diabetes


The growth in diabetes in the American population over the last few decades is perhaps the most concerning trend. For years to come, we don’t know what influence this will have on the rate of hearing loss. There have been studies linking these two chronic health issues for many years. 


While many have recognized the increased risk, a team of Japanese researchers found that those with hearing loss have a two-fold increased chance of acquiring diabetes, based on an analysis of thirteen hearing loss studies. The study, published in 2012, found a significant association between the two but could not prove a cause-and-effect relationship because it was an observational study. However, it raises significant concerns about the connection and warrants more investigation.


Correlation and causation


The effect of high blood sugar on blood vessels in the body is the most persuasive explanation for the connection between hearing loss and diabetes. When a diabetic condition isn’t regularly checked, and blood sugar levels aren’t regulated, it can cause havoc on these vital cells. Limited blood supply to the inner ear has long been known to inflict irreversible harm to the delicate processes that control our capacity to hear clearly.


Things that don’t make sense


The observational study’s most confusing conclusion is that diabetes and hearing loss isn’t always associated with older participants. The association was even more robust in a younger observational group, with diabetes having a 2.6 more significant risk of hearing loss.


It’s possible that older adults were more inclined to manage their diabetes correctly, lowering their chance of hearing loss. However, because the findings strongly contradict accepted explanations for the link, more research on the subject is required.


Be vigilant about the warning signs


Being aware of the early indicators of hearing loss and diabetes is one way to ensure you don’t become a statistic supporting the link. 


The early warning signs of age-related hearing loss, in which the auditory system wears out over time, can be startling. Rather than a uniform reduction in overall volume, sounds seem distorted. Early hearing loss can cause someone to ask people to repeat themselves more frequently or misunderstand conversations.


You may notice that you are hungry or thirstier than usual as an early indicator of diabetes, and you may also become more fatigued on a more regular basis. In the early stages of diabetes, people commonly complain of being thirsty and having blurry vision.


The good news is that both of these illnesses are easily diagnosed and can be treated as long as you discover them early enough. 


Make the right changes to your lifestyle


Of course, the best cure is always prevention. While people who have recently been diagnosed with hearing loss may be tempted to engage in poor eating habits to boost their mood or provide comfort, maintaining healthy overall is a healthier coping method. While reaching for a sugary treat may provide a quick cure in the short term, making this a long-term habit can exacerbate your health concerns.


Make an appointment with a dietician if you suffer from hearing loss. They can help you ensure that among the many better choices you’re making for a healthier hearing life, you’re also making better dietary choices. Beyond diabetes prevention, a healthier diet and frequent exercise are also beneficial. Giving your body the nourishment and nutrients it requires, as well as engaging in a refreshing bout of exercise, can improve your mood.


Have you noticed any changes in your hearing? This American Diabetes Month, make an appointment with Dr. Kevin J. Whritenour to take control of your hearing health.