Did you know that 1 in 10 people in the US have diabetes? That’s 34.2 million Americans! Diabetes causes a partial or absolute deficiency of insulin. Insulin is responsible for creating enzymes that break down fat, starches, and sugar in the blood. An increase in blood sugar damages the inner lining of arteries. The body responds by creating plaque on the artery walls which restricts blood flow.
How does diabetes affect your hearing?
This thickening of artery walls affects an area of the inner ear called the stria vascularis, causing it to atrophy and prevent it from doing its job efficiently. The stria vascularis is responsible for controlling the chemical makeup of the inner ear, which allows the hair cells to change mechanical information into electrical information– a key part of how we hear! Some studies show that an abnormal stria vascularis can even cause hair cell death, permanently damaging your hearing.
A 2008 study by the National Institutes of Health showed that people with diabetes are twice as likely to have hearing problems. In fact, even the 88 million people in the US with prediabetes have a 30% higher likelihood of having hearing problems. That’s 1 in 3 Americans at an increased risk!
Get a baseline hearing test if you have diabetes
If you or a loved one have diabetes or prediabetes, it is important to have a baseline hearing test. Monitoring your hearing is vital to your overall health. Like diabetes, hearing problems can develop gradually, and early detection is critical. In honor of Diabetes Awareness, Hearing Health Center offers complimentary hearing check-ups at all five locations.
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