There are many different health conditions that may increase your risk of hearing loss. One of the more prevalent conditions is diabetes.
Quick Facts on Diabetes
Millions of Americans currently have diabetes, and millions more are considered prediabetic. 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.
Diabetes Increases Hearing Loss Risk
Research has shown that having diabetes increases a person’s risk of hearing loss, regardless of age. Other studies have shown that people with diabetes are twice as likely to experience hearing loss as those without the condition.
Though the cause is not exactly known, it’s likely caused by uncontrolled high blood sugar damaging the blood vessels of the inner ear. This can affect blow flow to the hair cells in the ear. These cells help your brain detect sound. Once these cells are damaged, they cannot be repaired, and it can lead to permanent hearing loss.
Manage Diabetes to Protect Your Hearing Health
The good news is that by managing your diabetes, you can help protect your hearing. Some ways to do that include:
- Visit your medical provider if you have symptoms of diabetes. Since untreated diabetes can lead to hearing loss, it’s important to get checked out if you have any symptoms. Some of the most common symptoms of diabetes include fatigue, unintended weight loss, frequent urination, intense thirst, and wounds that are slow to heal.
- Manage your blood sugar. If you do have diabetes, it is vital to manage your blood sugar levels. Take all medications as prescribed by your doctor and eat healthy, nutrient-dense food that is low in sugar.
- Get regular physical activity. Exercise can increase blood flow to all parts of your body, including your ears. Make it something you enjoy, such as working in your garden, doing yoga or taking walks through Neale Woods.
- Visit an audiologist. If you believe you are experiencing signs of hearing loss, make an appointment for a hearing test as soon as possible. The sooner you are diagnosed and treated with hearing aids, the better your hearing health will be.
To learn more or to schedule an appointment, call Ear Specialists of Omaha & Bellevue today.