The American Diabetes Association, known as the ADA, is a well-respected entity with 250 staff members, professional society of 16,000 healthcare professionals and network of 565,000 volunteers devoted to raising awareness of diabetes pervasiveness, preventative factors and quality of life detriments.
Above and beyond their 24/7/365 commitment to improving quality of life for all associated, every November the ADA leads national advocacy efforts during Diabetes Awareness Month. This imperative reflects CDC estimates that 1.4 million new cases of diabetes were diagnosed in 2019 along with these astonishing statistics:
- 3 million Americans have diabetes, with 20% being unaware of it
- 96 million American adults have prediabetes, with 80% being unaware
Literally, from head to toe, from eyes to feet, Diabetes Mellitus (DM) is a chronic disease which can manifest itself in unhealthy ways. To better understand damaging flows, we rediscover our cardiovascular system’s intricacies.
As the heart functions, approximately 60,000 miles (twice around the earth) of miniscule blood vessels, the smallest ones measuring 5 micrometers, about 1/3 the size of a strand of human hair, circulate blood throughout your body.
- Arteries, away from your heart.
- Veins, back towards your heart.
- Capillaries, connecting arteries and veins.
Type 2 diabetes is dysfunction in how our body regulates and uses sugar (glucose) as fuel. This chronic disease results in excess sugar circulating through the bloodstream. When pancreas does not produce proper amount of insulin to regulate sugar movement, cells may take in less sugar than normal. As a result, elevated sugar levels may damage circulatory, nervous and immune systems.
Since Type 2 diabetes may develop slowly, many are unaware they live with this serious condition. If and when these signs or symptoms persist, or if you have a family history, proper evaluation by your primary care doctor or endocrinologist is recommended:
“What is necessary to change a person is to change awareness of himself.” —Abraham Maslow
With many aware how circulatory issues affect heart health, it is also essential to understand they can negatively impact cochlear anatomy, nerve signals and auditory function. Research indicates high blood sugar levels can harm the inner ear’s small blood vessels and nerves, diminishing hearing abilities.
When reputable research speaks volumes, we should listen up. To the point, “In contrast to diabetic retinopathy, hearing impairment is not a well-documented complication of diabetes mellitus. Therefore, it would be preferable to perform audiometry, as part of the routine annual evaluations of glycemic control undertaken by all diabetic patients.” 1
Do you have diabetes or a family history that increases risks of diabetes-related hearing loss? With daily challenges of having diabetes or caring for loved ones who do, effective communication is crucial. As patients typically learn about this systemic disease’s impact from primary care providers, endocrinologists, eye doctors or podiatrists, more should benefit from sound advice that in the know hearing care experts provide.
As dedicated Whole Person Care practitioners, we encourage you to make well-informed decisions about how Diabetes may negatively affect you or loved ones. While excess blood sugars are harmful, treat yourself to proactive evaluations that ensure Joys of Hearing this holiday season and beyond. Altogether, let’s Give Thanks for precious sounds!
1 Lee JS, Choi HG, Jang JH, Sim S, Hong SK, Lee HJ, Park B, Kim HJ. Analysis of Predisposing Factors for Hearing Loss in Adults. J Korean Med Sci. 2015 Aug;30(8):1175-82. doi: 10.3346/jkms.2015.30.8.1175. Epub 2015 Jul 15. PMID: 26240497; PMCID: PMC4520950.