November is National Diabetes Month. Falling more or less between Halloween candy and Thanksgiving feasting, this annual recognition of a condition that over 10 percent of Americans experience is a good time to learn more about it.
What’s that have to do with hearing health?
The reality is that there is a direct relationship between diabetes and hearing loss—one that means that you’re twice as likely to experience degraded hearing when diabetic.
This is due to the damage diabetes does to the entire circulatory system. The small blood vessels that nourish the diverse parts of the ear are slowly damaged by the realities of diabetes, leading to a long-term decline in function.
The best cure is prevention.
The theme of this year’s National Diabetes Month is prediabetes and diabetes prevention. The fact is that prediabetes is very widespread, present in a third of American adults—88 million people—most of whom don’t know they have it.
The best ways to prevent prediabetes from becoming diabetes are lifestyle changes.
Do things like incorporate at least 30 minutes of physical activity into your schedule, at least five days a week. Eat better by making high-fiber, low-fat/sugar foods a bigger part of your diet. Replace sweetened drinks with water.
Dropping 5 to 7 percent of your current weight, if you are overweight, may very well prevent or delay diabetes.
Smoking also increases the likelihood of developing the condition.