Over 31.5 million people in the U.S. report having hearing difficulty. 3 in 10 people over the age of 60 have a hearing loss. 1 in 6 baby boomers have a hearing problem.
Many people are aware when they are losing their hearing but are not comfortable seeking help. Sometimes this is because they are afraid, may be embarrassed because they think this loss may be a sign of weakness or that they are different, or don't want to wear a hearing aid. Hearing loss is not a harmless condition. Untreated hearing loss has serious emotional and social consequences for older persons.
Untreated Hearing Loss has been linked to:
- Irritability and anger
- Fatigue, stress, and depression
- Social rejection and loneliness
- Reduced alertness
- Impaired memory and risk to personal safety
- Diminished overall health
- Emotional problems
If you have diabetes, there are some important things you should know.
- Diabetes can cause changes in the inner ear and damage blood vessels, much the same way that diabetes affects the eyes and the kidneys
- Changes in the brain cells in some diabetics can also slow the processing of complex speech sounds.
Because of this, some people with diabetes can have trouble understanding speech even if they have little or no hearing loss. If you add on top of that a vision problem, understanding speech may even be worse since visual cues are not available. See your doctor and ask to have your hearing and vision tested.
Better Hearing Institute. Hearing Loss - Introduction. Accessed March 2008. Available at: http://www.betterhearing.org/hearing_loss/
Kathleen E. Bainbridge, PhD, MPH; Howard J. Hoffman, MA; and Catherine C. Cowie, PhD, MPH. Diabetes and Hearing Impairment in the United States: Audiometric Evidence from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 1999 to 2004. Annals of Internal Medicine 2008; 1:1-10