The American Diabetes Association estimates that over 29 million children and adults in America have diabetes. Of this number, over 1.25 million have Type 1 diabetes. Diabetes remains the seventh leading cause of death in the United States.

These numbers are even more alarming when you realize the impact diabetes can have on the rest of the body. Research shows a significant connection between diabetes and hearing loss. People with diabetes are twice as likely to develop hearing loss.

Because the two are so deeply connected, diabetes management can serve a dual purpose to protect hearing. We’d like to share some tips that promote a healthy lifestyle to manage (or prevent) diabetes and protect the inner workings of your ear.

How is Diabetes Connected to Hearing Loss?

Before we dive into ways to manage your diabetes, it’s important to understand the connection between diabetes and hearing loss. We want to stress that research is still being done on this subject, but studies do show that people with diabetes are twice as likely to have hearing loss. While current statistics support a very strong correlation between diabetes and hearing loss, much still needs to be learned about the specifics of how and why.

One theory is that the levels of high blood sugar levels associated with diabetes can cause damage to the small blood vessels in the inner ear that can lead to hearing loss. If research proves this theory to be true, it provides even more reason to manage diabetes and maintain a healthy lifestyle (and thereby protecting the inner parts of the ear that make hearing possible).

Lifestyle Tips for Diabetes Management:

Because diabetes and hearing loss have such a deep connection, what benefits one will benefit both. We would like to share some tips for a healthy lifestyle that keeps blood sugar at normal levels and protect the ear.

Diet:

One of the most important things that can be done to manage diabetes is to eat a diet that is rich in fruits and vegetables, contains an appropriate amount of carbohydrates, incorporates lean protein, and has a minimal amount of sugar. While the necessary amounts of sugar and carbohydrates will vary from patient to patient, these are good guidelines to follow.

The American Diabetes Association in Lubbock does a great job offering classes, support, and instruction for nutrition as part of diabetes management.

Activity Levels:

Regular physical activity plays an important role in a thriving, healthy lifestyle. This can include anything that gets the heart moving: a brisk walk, yoga, lifting weights, or a class at the gym.

Exercise keeps blood flowing properly, which is important for circulation, digestion, and regulating the body’s blood sugar levels. The connection between the cardiovascular system and hearing mean that the benefits of exercise for the heart also apply to the ear.

Regular check-ups:

Prevention is the best medicine applies to diabetes. Regular check-ups allow your physician to stay aware of your health, blood sugar levels, and needs for insulin or medication. These visits are a great opportunity for you to address any concerns you might have, including any decline in your hearing.

Awareness of Medications

Regular visits with your physician will also make sure that you are consistently receiving the correct amounts of insulin and medication to regulate blood sugar levels.

In between these visits, it’s important to be aware of your health each day. Take detailed notes of what you eat, what you do, how you’re feeling, and your blood sugar levels. This information is valuable for your physician and yourself.

Annual Hearing Checks as Part of Healthy Living:

Hearing is not an independent sense. It has great connections to the brain and mental, emotional, and even physical health. If you have diabetes, it is important to maintain good hearing health for a positive mental and emotional health.

A healthy lifestyle is an important part of managing diabetes and protecting your hearing health. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us at (806)687.HEAR(4327)

Cornerstone Audiology serves Lubbock, TX and its surrounding areas as a hearing aid provider with two certified audiologists and was recently named Best Hearing Aid Provider for Best of the West 2015. Our team offers compassionate, skilled care to help you find the hearing aids that best meets your needs. To learn more about how we can help with your hearing loss or tinnitus, contact us for a free consultation.

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Julie Hubik, Au.D., CCC-A - Doctor of Audiology & CEO of Cornerstone Audiology

Dr. Hubik is the owner and founder of one of West Texas' most trusted and professional hearing providers, Cornerstone Audiology. She received her bachelor of science degree in communication disorders as well as her doctorate of audiology from Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC). In her youth, Dr. Hubik became interested in helping people with a hearing loss to communicate more effectively and therefore pursued a degree in this field. Dr. Hubik was born and raised in Anton, Texas, and appreciates working with the people of West Texas. She and her team are proud to serve the hearing needs of their community.