When you think of healthy living, you probably associate it with staying in shape in order to lower your risk of developing health problems like heart disease. You might be surprised to know that following a healthy lifestyle can also help prevent hearing loss. This condition has been linked to a serious chronic disease that can be prevented through healthy living. Hearing loss in kids has also been associated with another unhealthy condition -Diabetes.
Diabetes & Hearing Loss
Diabetes is a common, lifelong illness that leads to high levels of sugar in your blood. Having this disease increases your risk of having hearing loss, which can occur when poorly controlled blood sugar damages the nerves and blood vessels in your inner ear. Hearing loss is roughly twice as common in diabetic adults than in those without this disease, according to the National Institutes of Health. Even having a condition known as pre-diabetes increases your chance of having hearing loss. Pre-diabetes occurs when your blood glucose levels are higher than they should be but not high enough to be considered diabetes.
Exposure to secondhand smoke can cause hearing loss in adolescents, according to a study done by researchers at NYU School of Medicine. The results of this study showed that being around secondhand smoke almost doubles the risk of having some degree of hearing loss in kids between the ages of 12 and 19. The type of hearing loss that develops is the same type that typically occurs in people as they get older or in babies who are born with hearing problems.
Protecting Your Hearing
You can help prevent hearing loss by adopting a healthy lifestyle to lower your risk of diabetes. Eat a nutritious diet that contains a lot of whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables and good sources of protein, such as chicken and nuts. Cut back on unhealthy foods like sweets, fried and fatty meats and heavily processed items. Getting regular exercise also helps keep you in good shape and can significantly reduce your chance of becoming diabetic. If you’ve already been diagnosed with diabetes, keeping your blood sugar levels under control can help prevent nerve damage. You can do this by following your doctor’s instructions on what you should and shouldn’t be eating, exercising daily and monitoring your blood sugar.
If you’re a smoker, work on quitting in order to lower your kids’ risk of having hearing loss. Talk to your doctor about the most effective ways to kick this habit since doing so can be very challenging. In addition to living healthy, you can also protect your hearing by keeping the volume at a reasonable level when listening to music or TV. Exposing your ears to excessively loud sounds often can lead to hearing loss. If you work in a very noisy environment, wear earplugs to protect your ears.
When to Call Your Doctor
If you’ve experienced common signs of hearing loss, talk to your doctor. These include having to keep turning up your TV or music player to hear it well, asking people to repeat what they’ve said on a regular basis and assuming that people around you are speaking low or mumbling. Another common sign is having difficulty following conversations. Your doctor might have you see a licensed audiologist to have a hearing test done. If you’re diagnosed with hearing loss, your doctor might recommend wearing hearing aids. These make it possible for you to hear sounds that you would normally miss or have trouble hearing.
Guest Blogger – John O’Connor