When I first began in audiology, I thought I would only be diagnosing and treating hearing loss. I knew the main risk factors for hearing loss: noise, age, medications, and illness. This is what I talked to my patients about. If they were not ready for hearing aids, I accepted that and let them know I was here when they were ready. However, it was not until recently that I fully realized how everything in our bodies is connected. Over the next year Michelle Hungerford, Au.D., CCC-A and I will be discussing various health conditions and the impact those diseases have on your ears. Today we are focusing on Diabetes.
Have you or a loved one been diagnosed with Diabetes Mellitus Type II or prediabetes? The CDC estimates more than 29 million people in the US have been diagnosed with Diabetes and another 86 million have prediabetes (1). When you are diagnosed with Diabetes, what are your next steps? In addition to your doctor recommending the appropriate medications and lifestyle changes, you are likely referred to an optometrist, podiatrist, and dentist to name a few. These bodily systems are monitored closely because Diabetes can affect all of them in a very serious way.
Did you know Diabetes can have the same significant impact on the ears? Hearing loss is twice as common in patients with Diabetes. Why? Because high blood sugar levels damage the nerves and blood vessels in the ears (2). The ear is incredibly sensitive to blood and oxygen changes. When the ear does not receive what it needs small changes like ringing/buzzing in the ears can begin, which ultimately leads to hearing loss.
But why does this matter? We hear patients say all too often, “My hearing isn’t bad enough,” “I hear normal for my age,” and “I will wait until I am deaf to do something.” Hearing loss affects more than just the ears. An untreated hearing loss puts you at a markedly higher risk of developing dementia, Alzheimer’s (3), and even falling (4). These risks begin with a MILD hearing loss and significantly increase as a hearing loss becomes more severe. These risks can be greatly reduced and, in some areas, eliminated with proper auditory rehabilitation.
Dr. Hungerford and I feel very passionately about helping our patients hear better and love their lives. One of the largest barriers we have found keeping patients from accepting treatment for a hearing loss was, “Hearing aids are too expensive.” And they were right. Our patients deserve to have access to treatment that can help keep their ears, minds, and bodies healthy. At FYZICAL Therapy and Balance Centers, we offer a wide range of treatment options and resources to accommodate the needs of our patients. We treat our patients based on what they need, not what the treating provider needs to sell!
We all want the very best for ourselves and our loved ones. If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with Diabetes or prediabetes, call us or submit a request via FYZICAL First http://www.fyzicalvegas.com/first today for a complimentary hearing screening to see if further diagnostic testing is needed!
Dr. Amber Delph, F-AAA