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Gardner Audiology offers Diabetics advice about hearing loss

Nearly 30 million people in the U.S. have diabetes, and an estimated 34.5 million have some type of hearing loss (www.diabetes.org). Did you know that diabetes can affect your hearing? A study by National Institutes of Health (Annals of Internal Medicine, June 2008) found that hearing loss is twice as common in people with diabetes. More than 40 percent of the people in the study with diabetes had some degree of hearing loss. Those with prediabetes have 30 percent higher incidence of hearing loss than those with normal blood glucose.

There are three factors that may explain the relationship between diabetes and hearing loss. First, high blood sugar may damage the nerves that transmit to your ears. This damage may result in reduced hearing or poorer understanding of speech. Second, diabetics may lack keratin, a protein that forms a protective layer within the ear canal. Too much or too little may lead to hearing problems. Third, diabetes may result in deterioration of the epithelial tissue in the ear canal. The skin in the ear can become more easily damaged, resulting in yeast, fungus, or infection in the ear. Do not use a swab or foreign object to clean your ear.

If you are a diabetic, have your hearing evaluated annually. Inform our Gardner Audiology Doctors that you are diabetic. If you have hearing loss, consider getting hearing aids sooner, rather than later. Hearing loss is usually gradual and you may be the last one to know. Have a baseline test done now!

Call Gardner Audiology at 1-800-277-1182 for a free hearing consultation at one of our Tampa Bay offices.

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