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Diabetes Sufferers Are Urged to Have Hearing Checked

Because of the link between diabetes and hearing loss, the Better Hearing Institute (BHI) is urging anyone with diabetes to get a hearing checkup.

To aid the effort, BHI offers a free, quick and confidential online hearing test at to help people with diabetes determine whether they need a comprehensive hearing check by a hearing professional.

Hearing loss is about twice as common in adults with diabetes as in adults who don't 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 aren't part of the regular regimen of care that people with diabetes are routinely advised to receive.

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

Numerous studies have linked untreated hearing loss to a wide range of physical and emotional conditions. These include 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.

"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."

The International Diabetes Federation estimates that more than 300 million people around the world suffer from diabetes. This total is expected to reach close to 500 million within 20 years. Each year, seven million more people develop diabetes.

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

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