If you have a loved one with diabetes, hearing loss might be the last thing on your mind. Monitoring blood sugar and insulin levels can require constant vigilance, and diet needs microscopic attention, as well. With these many concerns, it is easy to neglect other dimensions of good health that can seem like too much to worry about. Although hearing loss is a risk for those with diabetes, the good news is that it need not be a cause for worry! If your loved one has diabetes, you need to pay attention to warning signs of hearing loss and to schedule regular hearing tests to monitor changes. With these simple practices in place, along with the wide range of treatment options that are available, you can rest assured that your loved one’s health is in good hands with diabetes management in place alongside hearing health provision. Let’s look more closely at the connection between diabetes and hearing loss with a mind toward prevention, diagnosis, and treatment.
How are Diabetes and Hearing Loss Related?
At an intuitive level, you might never imagine that diabetes and hearing loss would have a connection. With one condition related to blood sugar levels and the other related to damage to the tiny hairlike organelles of the inner ear, called stereocilia, the two seem distant within the body’s systems and pathways. Yet, a crucial connection exists at the level of the small blood vessels surrounding the cochlea of the inner ear. Those who have diabetes tend to have glucose levels in the bloodstream, and that composition might have an effect on the small blood vessels that deliver essential oxygenated blood and nutrients to the inner ear. When the stereocilia are deprived of the resources they need to function, they can become damaged, broken, or otherwise ineffective at sensing the variations in pressure that are necessary for the hearing process.
Managing Diabetes and Preventing Hearing Loss
Diabetes management is a complex network of monitoring, professional assistance, behavioral change, and readiness for treatment when necessary. Each of these functions should be instructed and guided by a physician, but there are general principles that you can follow that have a preventative effect on hearing loss, as well. A healthy diet is the most important aspect of diabetes management, and it has been demonstrated to have a relationship with lower rates of hearing loss among older women, as well.
Though sugary foods should be treated with care, a wide range of fresh vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat proteins can create a delicious and appropriate diet for a person with diabetes. Exercise is the other component of diabetes management, enabling the body to process sugars steadily and with an appropriate metabolic rate for your age and disposition. You don’t have to go to a gym to get physical activity, and many tasks that are natural parts of our lives can be enhanced or expanded to become physical exercise. Rather than driving to a nearby location, you might want to attempt walking there. Instead of taking the elevator to a second floor, why not use the stairs? When you have the opportunity to park in the nearest spot in a parking lot, you could choose to park further away and get a few extra steps into your daily routine. These activities can promote a good flow of oxygenated blood throughout the body, including the ears.
Hearing Loss Treatment
In addition to these activities, there are steps you can take to address hearing loss if it has already set in. The first step is to schedule an appointment for a hearing test. Once your hearing diagnosis comes back in the form of an audiogram, we can recommend the right line of hearing aids for your needs.
Hearing aids have a remarkable array of new features available to you, and you might be surprised how little they resemble your old associations with hearing devices. Using treatment for hearing loss comes with a wide range of other benefits for your physical health, reducing the risk of accidents and injuries, slowing cognitive decline, and lowering rates of depression and anxiety. With all these benefits in mind, why not take the first step today? Contact us to schedule an appointment for a hearing test!