BHI Urges People with Diabetes to Get Their Hearing Checked and Joins in Global Effort to Promote World Diabetes Day

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The Better Hearing Institute (BHI) is raising awareness of the link between diabetes and hearing loss and is urging anyone with diabetes to get their hearing checked as part of the global effort to promote World Diabetes Day, which is celebrated every year on November 14. To help in the effort, BHI has made available a free, quick, and confidential online hearing test at http://www.hearingcheck.org to help people with diabetes determine if they need a comprehensive hearing check by a hearing professional.

It's so important that people with diabetes ask their doctors to check their hearing.

The Better Hearing Institute (BHI) is raising awareness of the link between diabetes and hearing loss and is urging anyone with diabetes to get their hearing checked as part of the global effort to promote World Diabetes Day, which is celebrated every year on November 14. To help in the effort, BHI has made available a free, quick, and confidential online hearing test at http://www.hearingcheck.org to help people with diabetes determine if they need a comprehensive hearing check by a hearing professional.

Hearing loss is about twice as common in adults with diabetes compared to those who do not have the disease, according to a study funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and published in the Annals of Internal Medicine. Yet hearing screenings typically are not part of the regular regimen of care that people with diabetes are routinely recommended to receive.

"For years, physicians who treat people with diabetes have regularly ensured that their patients receive regular vision check-ups," said Sergei Kochkin, PhD, BHI's executive director. "But they also need to encourage each of their patients to get their hearing checked as well."

World Diabetes Day is the primary global awareness campaign of the diabetes world. It was introduced in 1991 by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) and the World Health Organization (WHO) in response to the alarming rise in diabetes around the world. In 2007, the United Nations marked the Day for the first time with the passage of the United Nations World Diabetes Day Resolution in December 2006, which made the existing World Diabetes Day an official United Nations World Health Day.

"It's so important that people with diabetes ask their doctors to check their hearing," Kochkin said. " Hearing loss affects virtually every aspect of a person's life, making it all the harder for people with diabetes to cope with their disease. A hearing check is invaluable in determining whether or not someone with diabetes does have a hearing loss and will help to ensure that they get the treatment they need."

Numerous studies have linked untreated hearing loss to a wide range of physical and emotional conditions, including irritability, negativism, anger, fatigue, tension, stress, depression, avoidance or withdrawal from social situations, social rejection and loneliness, reduced alertness and increased risk to personal safety, impaired memory and ability to learn new tasks, reduced job performance and earning power, and diminished psychological and overall health.

The International Diabetes Federation estimates that there are over 300 million people around the world with diabetes. This total is expected to reach close to 500 million within 20 years. Each year a further 7 million people develop diabetes.

"World Diabetes Day is a critically important initiative because it raises awareness of a very serious global health problem," said Kochkin. "It's also important that people with diabetes understand that they may be at an increased risk of hearing loss as a result of their disease. We urge anyone with diabetes to take a quick and confidential online hearing test today, at http://www.hearingcheck.org, to determine if they need a comprehensive hearing check by a hearing professional."

For more information about World Diabetes Day, please visit http://www.worlddiabetesday.org.

Founded in 1973, the BHI conducts research and engages in hearing health education with the goal of helping people with hearing loss benefit from proper treatment. For more information on hearing loss, visit http://www.betterhearing.org.

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Fabia D'Arienzo
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