It is recommended by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) that persons diagnosed with diabetes should have a team approach to their care. This team approach includes what is referred to in the medical field as PPOD. These acronyms refer to a Podiatrist, Pharmacist, Optometrist/Ophthalmologist, and Dentist. In January of 2021, the American Diabetes Association reported that hearing loss is twice as common among people with diabetes. The CDC is now recommending that persons newly diagnosed with diabetes should be referred for a hearing test. Below I have outlined key points to understanding hearing loss and diabetes. This information has been documented by The Audiology Project, which is an organization founded to raise awareness of the connection between diabetes and hearing loss.
- It is suspected that diabetes damages small blood vessels in your inner ear and disrupts the hearing signals to the brain.
- Hearing loss is 30% higher in people with diabetes. 80% of residents in nursing homes have trouble hearing.
- You have a greater chance of falling with diabetes due to vision loss, foot neuropathy, and the effects on the vestibular system.
- Visit your audiologist right away if you:
- Hear ringing or other noise in your ears
- Have sudden changes in your hearing and balance
- Become dizzy with rapid head movements, fall, or have a fear of falling
- Have a sudden change in how clearly you understand
- Struggle understanding in background noise or feel that people are mumbling
If you or someone close to you lives with diabetes, it is important to stay educated on how the disease can affect your end organs. Having a conversation with a primary care physician and/or seeking out resources on the CDC website to help find practitioners who can guide you on a multidisciplinary approach to staying healthy and obtaining preventative care.