According to the International Diabetes Federation, around 6.5% of the Irish population aged between 20 and 79 have diabetes, affecting 233,000 people. *
Studies show that the risk of developing hearing loss is twice as high for diabetics while for people with pre-diabetes, the rate of hearing loss is 30% greater than those with normal blood glucose levels. **
A 2008 study*** of over 5,000 adults concluded that diabetes may contribute to hearing loss by damaging nerves and blood vessels. The researchers made no distinction between Type 1 and Type 2, the two main forms of diabetes.
“On World Diabetes Day, it’s important to alert diabetic patients about the importance of having their hearing tested,” urges Dolores Madden, Marketing Director and Audiologist with Hidden Hearing Ireland, as there is “widespread lack of knowledge about the health risks associated with hearing loss, including dementia and depression”.
Dolores points out that it’s difficult to overcome the stigma attached to wearing a hearing aid.
“Nobody thinks twice about going to the opticians to get their eyes tested, but Irish people are reluctant to visit an audiologist. We know this from our Campaign for Better Hearing survey carried out last year.
“It found that 22% of Irish people admit waiting five years or more before seeking medical help for hearing loss. The study also revealed that only 25% of the population with mild to severe hearing loss use hearing aids. Many diabetic patients could be among those suffering in silence with hearing loss.
“Hidden Hearing offers free hearing tests in our 80 clinics nationwide and we would urge them to call in for a chat.”
About the Campaign for Better Hearing Campaign
In fact, 1 in 5 adults in Ireland suffer from at least a mild hearing loss. Even among younger adults, aged 18-24, there are early signs of noise-induced hearing loss. By the age of 55 a quarter of the population report a significant deterioration in hearing, and, by 65, this rises to one third.
In the region of 100,000 people may be risking the knock-on physical and psychological impacts of untreated hearing loss, which recent research has shown to include social isolation, depression, dementia, diminished heart health and stroke.
The GiveBack Programme, which is an integral part of The Campaign for Better Hearing, sees all branches of Hidden Hearing nominate a member of the community to get a free hearing device fitted. Hidden Hearing want to drive the message of the importance of good hearing and improve hearing health in those who they feel need it because life is worth hearing.
Free hearing testing, education and information in relation to prevention and treatment, as well as hearing aid technology, are all part of the campaign.
About Hidden Hearing
Over the past 30 years, Hidden Hearing has evolved to become the premier provider of professional hearing healthcare in the private sector, with a network of over 80 clinics nationwide, providing free hearing tests to more than 60,000 people every year.
*The International Diabetes Federation Diabetes Atlas (2013)