Better Hearing Institute encourages people with diabetes to take care of their hearing by following these five healthy habits:
- Get a thorough hearing exam every year and watch for signs of hearing loss. You do it for your eyes. Now do it for your ears. See a hearing healthcare professional every year for a thorough hearing examination. If you notice a change in your ability to hear under certain conditions—like at a restaurant or on a conference call—go sooner. And be sure to share the information with your primary care physician and endocrinologist.
- Keep your blood sugar under control. Just as your heart, eye, and nerve health are affected by your blood sugar levels, your hearing health may be as well. Work with your doctor to monitor your blood sugar and take appropriate medicines as prescribed.
- Maintain a healthy lifestyle. Even for people without diabetes, a healthy lifestyle benefits hearing health. Not smoking, exercising, and maintaining a healthy diet all support your ability to hear. In fact, studies show that smoking and obesity increase the risk of hearing loss, while regular physical activity helps protect against it.
- Use ear protection. Everyone is at risk of noise-induced hearing loss. But using ear protection is one of the best—and simplest—things you can do to preserve your hearing. Carry disposable earplugs with you, especially when you know you’ll be somewhere noisy. Use appropriate ear protection in loud work environments. Keep the volume on smartphones and other electronics low. Limit your use of headphones and ear buds. And get in the habit of quickly plugging your ears with your fingers and walking away if a loud noise takes you by surprise. Most of all, limit your time in noisy environments.
- Use hearing aids, if recommended. Hearing aid technology has advanced radically in recent years. While hearing loss is not reversible, today’s hearing aids can dramatically enhance your ability to hear and engage with others- which can make a tremendous difference in your overall quality of life. They adjust to all kinds of noise environments and pick up sound from all directions. Best of all, they’re wireless. Today’s hearing aids can stream sound directly from your smartphone, home entertainment system, and other electronics directly into the hearing aid itself – at volumes just right for you.