Free hearing screening offered

2015-11-18 06:00
PHOTO: supplied Recent research suggests that hearing loss is twice as common in people with diabetes.

PHOTO: supplied Recent research suggests that hearing loss is twice as common in people with diabetes.

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IN South African Type 2 diabetes is on the increase in people aged 30 and older.

Recent research suggests that hearing loss is twice as common in people with diabetes as those without. According to these findings, people with pre-diabetes have a 30% greater chance of having hearing loss, however, experts aren’t sure how diabetes is related to hearing loss.

As diabetes can cause damage to nerves as well as to blood vessels, affecting the eyes and kidney, researchers believe that diabetes can cause damage to the nerves and blood vessels in the inner ear, resulting in hearing loss.

Hearing loss related to diabetes usually affects both ears and develops gradually, becoming increasingly worse over time. It can sometimes develop so slowly that the change is unnoticeable. In some cases, friends and family may notice the problem before the affected person recognises the symptoms.

It is useful for people with diabetes to be aware of signs of hearing loss - often asking for repetition, finding that voices are soft and/or mumbled, difficulty hearing women’s and children’s voices, difficulty following group conversations, difficulty hearing in background noise, and turning up the volume of the radio or TV.

In South Africa, approximately 10% of the population has significant hearing loss yet, only two percent of these people seek help, and it takes them an average of seven years to do so.

Untreated hearing loss has been linked to irritability, fatigue, depression, withdrawal from social situations, loneliness, reduced alertness and increased risk to personal safety, reduced job performance, and reduced psychological and overall health

To reduce the negative impact of hearing loss it is important that people with diabetes, who are at greater risk for hearing difficulties, undergo hearing screening to detect hearing loss as early as possible.

Hearing screening is a safe and quick procedure that works on a pass or fail basis to identify hearing loss. This is the first step in diagnosing and managing hearing loss.

In light of World Diabetes Month this November, Tanya Gabriel Audiology Services invites you to have a free hearing screening. For more information, phone 031 904 3650, or email tgabriel@telkomsa.net

- Supplied.

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