Diabetes and hearing loss are two of America’s most widespread health problems. A recent study found that hearing loss is twice as common in people with diabetes as it is in those who don’t have the disease.
American Diabetes Month® is designed to focus our attention on the issues surrounding diabetes and the nearly 30 million children and adults in the United States who have diabetes and another 86 million Americans who have pre-diabetes and are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes. The American Diabetes Association estimates that the cost of diagnosed diabetes in the United States is $245 billion!
Right now we don’t know exactly how diabetes is related to hearing loss, but possibly that the high blood glucose levels associated with diabetes cause damage to the blood vessels in the inner ear, similar to the way in which diabetes can damage the eyes and the kidneys. The damage results in a permanent, sensorineural hearing loss.
Since it usually happens gradually, the symptoms of hearing loss are often hard to notice. In fact, family members and friends may notice the hearing loss before the person experiencing it.
Physicians specializing in diabetes are called endocrinologists. Most people with diabetes must see an eye doctor to monitor their vision and a podiatrist to check the feet and circulation in the toes. The other specialist who should be seen annually is an audiologist to monitor their hearing and compare any changes over time.
If you have diabetes or know someone who does, you can have a hearing test. If your insurance requires a referral, most physicians are willing to provide this and send you to a licensed audiologist annually for a hearing test. The audiologist will send a copy of the test to your physician who monitors the diabetes.
It is never too late to start having regular hearing tests!
If you need a hearing test, please contact Marin Hearing Center at (415) 927-1567.
For more information, see the American Diabetes Association Website at http://www.diabetes.org/.