Your ears arent deceiving you; if youve had trouble catching peoples words, your diabetes may be behind it. A study found that hearing loss is twice as common in diabetics. More than 40% of the diabetics in this study had hearing loss. Three simple factors explain the association:
1. Nerve damage. High blood sugar can damage the nerves that send signals to the ears; a poor signal can limit your hearing or understanding of speech.
2. Keratin. Diabetics may lack keratin, a protein that helps protect your ear canal. Too much or too little keratin can lead to hearing problems.
3. Tissue sensitivity. Diabetes might make your ear tissue overly sensitive.
So what can be done? While you might not be able to recover hearing loss, there are ways to treat it and prevent it from worsening.
* Take a quick test at www.hearingcheck.org
* Get a professional hearing test once a year
* Tell hearing professionals you are diabetic-its important for diagnosis
* Consider getting hearing aids sooner rather than later
* Think hearing loss is just a sign of aging
* Think youre too young! 52% of those with hearing loss are under 65!
* Ignore your familys concerns
* Be afraid of hearing aids; theyre smaller and more effective than ever
Remember hearing loss can be so gradual that the person affected is often the last to notice. So listen to your family and your doctors.
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