Tag: ear health and anatomy

Diabetes and Hearing Loss

Original post from The Hearing Care Blog

human-ear-listening-hearing-263654721Diabetics at Greater Risk for Hearing Loss

People with diabetes are usually aware of their increased risk of kidney, cardiovascular, and visual disorders. However, most diabetics don’t know they are more than twice as likely to have hearing loss as those without the disease. And the risk is greater among younger diabetics than older.

Younger Diabetics at Greater Risk

A recent study in Japan was published in November 2012 in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. Led by Chika Horikawa, the team examined data from 13 previous studies published between 1977 and 2011. Their conclusion? Not only were diabetics 2.15 times as likely as others to have hearing loss, but those under age 60 had 2.61 times the risk while those over 60 had 1.58. In a related study by the National Institutes of Health, it was shown that more than 40% of people with diabetes had some degree of hearing loss.

Link Between Diabetes and Hearing Loss

The link between diabetes and hearing loss is not yet fully understood. Some think that high blood sugar levels may damage the blood vessels in the ears. Others caution that certain medications commonly used by diabetic patients, such as diuretics, may be a contributing factor. Though more research is needed in order to understand the connection between diabetes and hearing loss, according to Horikawa, “these results propose that diabetic patients are screened for hearing impairment from an earlier age compared with nondiabetics,” particularly because untreated hearing loss is associated with an increased risk of dementia and depression. For more information regarding diabetes, visit the American Diabetes Association website.

Gloria Boms, AuD

About the Author

Gloria Boms, AuD has been a licensed audiologist since 1978. Dr. Boms began her professional career at Long Island College Hospital in Brooklyn, NY where she specialized in pediatric audiology. She began working in private practice serving both children and adults in 1984, and her practice has been located in Great Neck since 1997. Dr. Boms is a Fellow of the American Academy of Audiology, a Fellow of the Academy of Dispensing Audiologists, and a member of the American Auditory Society and the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.

Earwax – It Deserves a Better Reputation!

By: Crystal L. Chalmers, Au.D.
North State Audiological Services
Chico, CA 95928

www.nsaudiology.com

Audiologist & Ear Doctor, Dr. Crystal Chalmers, Chico, California
Crystal Chalmers, Au.D., is an AudigyCertified™ Doctor of Audiology, the owner of North State Audiological Services in Chico, and a member of AudigyGroup, the nation’s largest member-owned association of independent hearing care professionals.

Though its medical name is cerumen, most of us refer to it as “Earwax”.

While I agree that neither term sounds very attractive, I will argue that earwax has gotten an undeserved bad reputation as something equivalent to dirt that we need to remove from our bodies.

So before reaching for the cotton swabs, you should know that earwax performs several important functions for our ears and hearing system.

That’s right.   Earwax – unless it is in excess and blocking our ear canal(s) or has plugged and disrupted the proper functioning of hearing technology – is a good thing.

Here are some positive functions of earwax:

●  It provides a protective barrier to the skin of the ear canal

●  Assists in lubricating and cleaning the outer portion of the ear canal.

●  Provides protection against insects (it is a natural insecticide), fungi, and bacteria – all of which like to dwell in dark, moist places … just like the ear canal!

So don’t be so quick to want to remove all of your earwax.  Oftentimes, excess earwax will work its way to the outer portion of the ear canal and simply fall out on its own.  To clean your ears, NEVER use cotton swabs as these can push the wax down further into the ear canal.  Simply rinse your ears with warm water while showering and/or use a damp cloth with mild soap to gently wash the exterior of the ear.  In cases where earwax is excessive, it should only be removed by a medical doctor as this is a delicate procedure.  In fact the ear canal is the only place on the body where skin is in direct contact with bone, so improper cleaning of this area could result in infection with serious consequences.