Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : April 16th 2014 Contents B36
body & soul
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Wednesday, April 16, 2014
Hearing loss is about twice as common in people
with diabetes, so the Better Hearing Institute (BHI)
is urging those with diabetes to get their hearing
checked and to make it a routine part of their diabetes
care and management.
BHI is offering a free, quick, and confidential online
hearing check at www.BetterHearing.org. Anyone can
take the confidential online survey to determine if
they need a comprehensive hearing test by a healthcare
In a release, BHI also encouraged all adults to find
out if they re at risk for developing Type 2 diabetes
by taking the American Diabetes Association s Diabetes
Risk Test (ow.ly/uvLST).
The Diabetes Risk Test and the BHI Hearing Check
are available year-round.
What's the diabetes--hearing
Hearing depends on small blood vessels and nerves
in the inner ear. Studies have shown that people with
diabetes have a higher rate of hearing loss than people
without diabetes. Although the relationship between
diabetes and hearing loss is still being investigated,
researchers theorise that, over time, high blood glucose
levels can damage the blood vessels and nerves of
the inner ear, diminishing the ability to hear.
In a meta-analysis (ow.ly/uvK8y) published in The
Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism,
researchers found that people with diabetes were 2.15
times as likely as those without the disease to have
hearing loss. Surprisingly, when broken down by age,
the younger group was at greater risk. The results
showed that those 60 and younger with diabetes were
2.61 times more likely to have hearing loss, while the
risk for those older than 60 was 1.58 times higher.
The meta-analysis looked at 13 previous studies that
examined the link between diabetes and hearing loss.
According to Prof Hirohito Sone, Department of
Internal Medicine, Niigata University School of Med-
icine, Niigata, Japan: "Our findings support routine
hearing screenings for people with diabetes starting
at an earlier age than for people without the disease.
From a preventive healthcare perspective, this is very
important because we know that when left untreated,
hearing loss can exacerbate and perhaps even lead to
other health problems, such as depression and demen-
Diabetes can contribute to hearing loss
tia, making the diabetes burden even greater."
Unlike eye exams, hearing health exam-
inations are often overlooked in the routine
regimen of care for people with diabetes,
despite the fact that the vast majority of
people with hearing loss can benefit from
hearing aids. In fact, almost all of the 400
people who underwent hearing tests at the
American Diabetes Association s Expo in
Portland, Oregon, in 2012, said they had
never received a physician s recommendation
for a hearing test.
Yet more than half of these 400 individuals
were found to have hearing loss.
How Hearing Aids May Help
Research shows that hearing loss is fre-
quently associated with other physical, men-
tal, and emotional health conditions, and
that people who address their hearing loss
often experience better quality of life. Eight
out of ten hearing-aid users, in fact, say
they re satisfied with the changes that have
occurred in their lives specifically due to
their hearing aids---from how they feel about
themselves to the positive changes they see
in their relationships, social interactions, and
When people with even mild hearing loss
use hearing aids, they often improve their
job performance; enhance their communi-
cation skills; increase their earnings potential;
improve their professional and interpersonal
relationships; stave off depression; gain an
enhanced sense of control over their lives;
and better their quality of life.
For more information on hearing loss, visit
www.BetterHearing.org. or contact Dr Natasa
Follow BHI on Twitter @better_hearing or
on Facebook at www.facebook.com/better-
Read more about diabetes and hearing
loss at ow.ly/uyuHt.
YOUR DAILY HEALTH
News and Advice
Five little-known facts about
today's modern hearing aids:
They're virtually invisible. Many of today's
hearing aids sit discreetly and comfortably
inside the ear canal, providing both natural
sound quality and are easy to use.
They automatically adjust to all kinds of
soundscapes. Recent technological advances
with directional microphones have made
hearing aids far more versatile than ever
You can enjoy water sports and sweat while
wearing them. Waterproof digital hearing aids
have arrived. This feature is built into some
newly-designed hearing aids for those
concerned about water, humidity, and dust.
They work with smartphones, home
entertainment systems and other prized
electronics. Wireless, digital hearing aids are
now the norm. That means seamless
connectivity---directly into your hearing aid(s)
at volumes that are just right for you---from
your smartphone, MP3 player, television and
other high-tech gadgets.
They're always at the ready. A new
rechargeable feature on some newly designed
hearing aids allows you to recharge your
hearing aids every night, so they're ready in
the morning. It's super convenient---and there's
no more fumbling with small batteries.
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