November is Diabetes Awareness Month, and whiel more than 4,5 million people in South Africa* have diabetes or prediabetes today, many people aren’t aware of the impact it can have on your health, including the likelihood of developing hearing loss. As a prominent healthcare provider in the Western Cape, it’s our duty to help South Africans #EndDiabetesTogether by learning the warning signs of this condition and taking the necessary steps to prevent it.
What you need to know about diabetes
Diabetes, a condition that makes your body incapable of producing sufficient amounts of insulin, is a serious health epidemic that affects more than 4,5 million people across South Africa. It can cause serious health complications for those affected, and can make living a normal and healthy life an everyday battle. Of those living with diabetes, 90% have Type 2 diabetes. Unlike Type 1, Type 2 diabetes develops more slowly and often appears in adulthood. Symptoms for Type 2 diabetes can easily be missed which is why it’s important to be aware of the warning signs and take preventative steps to protect your health.
What are the health risks?
When diabetes is left untreated or not proactively managed, the high blood sugar levels that your body experiences can damage your blood vessels. This has a detrimental effect on your nerves and organs, and eventually can stop them from functioning properly. Some of the complications related to diabetes include:
– Heart attacks
– Kidney disease
Research supports a strong link between diabetes and hearing loss. The organs, blood vessels, and nerves in your inner ear can be impacted by your body’s inability to produce insulin, making the likelihood of experiencing hearing loss much greater for diabetics. In fact, research done by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has shown that individuals with diabetes have a 30% higher chance of experiencing hearing loss compared to those who don’t have the disease.
How you can prevent it
Type 2 diabetes, like Type 1, can have a severe impact on an individual’s health, however Type 2 can be prevented. Ways to help prevent Type 2 diabetes include:
– Eating a healthy diet
– Increasing your physical activity
– Maintaining a healthy weight
Due to the link between diabetes and hearing loss, prioritizing your hearing health is an important step in diabetes prevention. While there is still a lot to learn about how exactly diabetes might affect your hearing, what we do know is that hearing loss won’t improve on it’s own. With the NIH’s study finding that hearing loss due to diabetes can start as early as 30 years of age, it’s important to be proactive.
How do you prioritize your hearing health?
The easiest way to start is by getting your hearing tested. This will provide you with the information you need to approach hearing loss with confidence. By being proactive, your hearing professionals will have the chance to catch the early signs of hearing loss as soon as possible, helping you to stay connected and engaged with your lifestyle as you actively age.
As a prominent healthcare provider in the Western Cape, it’s our duty to help South Africans prioritize their hearing and overall health to have the best possible chance to live a long and diabetes-free life. That’s why we’re encouraging you to take action against diabetes this month by learning the warning signs, understanding the risks, and taking the necessary steps to prevention. Getting your hearing checked is a great place to start. A simple hearing test will provide you with important information you need to take action and stay connected to the sounds that matter to you most.
Take control of your hearing health today by booking an appointment at your local Advanced Hearing outlet.