We all know that years of loud noises can contribute to hearing loss. Family history, head trauma, illness, and even aging can all contribute to hearing loss. But there is a surprising connection between a common illness and hearing loss that you may not be familiar with.
Diabetes is a growing problem within the U.S., affecting nearly 29.1 million Americans (diabetes and prediabetes combined). Type 2 diabetes can be prevented and managed very well through lifestyle habits, such as losing weight, eating well, and exercising. But new research suggests that if left unmanaged, it can rob you of your hearing.
Diabetes May Contribute to Hearing Loss
A study published in The Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (JCEM) has found a link between diabetes and hearing loss. Lead author Chika Horikawa said, “The association of hearing impairment with diabetes is controversial, but it is believed that over time, high blood glucose levels can damage vessels…diminishing the ability to hear.”
The findings from the study unveiled that diabetics were twice as likely to suffer from hearing loss compared to individuals who did not have diabetes.
Although this study and many others have found a relationship between diabetes and hearing loss, much information is still unknown. The takeaway is that to prevent hearing loss associated with diabetes, it is wise to control and manage diabetes as best as possible.
Signs and Symptoms of Hearing Loss
Whether you have diabetes or are simply getting older, it’s important to spot the signs and symptoms of hearing loss so that you can start preventing further damage from occurring to the point where you lose all hearing.
Signs and symptoms of hearing loss include:
- Frequently asking others to repeat themselves
- Difficulty following conversations when two or more individuals are involved
- Perceiving others as mumbling
- Difficulty hearing others in noisy areas like restaurants
- Trouble hearing voices of women and small children
- Turning up the volume on the TV or radio and having others complain it is too loud
Your doctor will recommend you see an audiologist who specializes in hearing in order to determine how bad your hearing has become and next steps to take to prevent it from worsening.
Diabetes Prevention Tips
Lose Extra Weight
Losing weight can help to reduce the risk of diabetes. In one large study, people who lost approximately 7% of their body weight reduced their risk of developing diabetes by almost 60%. The participants made changes in their exercise and diet habits and as a result, were able to achieve significant weight loss. If you are struggling with your weight, talk to your doctor about ways that you can reduce your risk of diabetes.
Be More Physically Active
Fortunately, diabetes is preventable, and one of the best ways to reduce your risk is to get more physically active. Exercise helps lower blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity, which is critical for preventing diabetes. Additionally, physical activity has countless other benefits, from reducing stress levels to improving sleep quality. So if you’re looking for a way to lower your diabetes risk, get up and start moving!
One of the best ways to reduce the risk of diabetes is to quit smoking. Tobacco use is a major risk factor for diabetes, and even people who don’t smoke are at increased risk if they are exposed to secondhand smoke. Quitting smoking not only reduces the risk of diabetes but also has several other health benefits, such as reducing the risk of heart disease and lung cancer. If you’re thinking about quitting smoking, talk to your doctor about ways to make the process easier. There are a number of effective treatments available that can help you kick the habit for good.
Reduce Your Total Carb Intake
Carbohydrates are a major source of blood sugar, and reducing your intake can help keep your blood sugar levels under control. In addition, reducing your carb intake can also help to improve your overall health and reduce your risk of other chronic diseases. So if you’re looking to improve your health, cutting down on carbs is a great place to start.
Drinking plenty of water is one simple way to reduce the risk of diabetes. Water helps to flush toxins from the body, regulate blood sugar levels, and maintain a healthy weight. In addition, water is essential for proper kidney function, and diabetes can lead to kidney damage. So if you’re looking to reduce your diabetes risk, make sure to stay hydrated. Drink water throughout the day, and choose water over sugary drinks. Your body will thank you for it.
Follow A High Fiber Diet
While there are several different types of diabetes, the most common form is type 2 diabetes, which is often linked to obesity and a sedentary lifestyle. However, research has shown that following a high fiber diet can help to reduce the risk of diabetes. Fiber helps slow down sugar absorption into the bloodstream, which can help keep blood sugar levels stable. In addition, fiber helps to promote feelings of fullness, which can aid in weight loss. As a result, consuming a diet that is rich in fiber can be an effective way to reduce the risk of diabetes.