Washington, DC, March 11, 2011 —The Better Hearing Institute (BHI) is highlighting the connection between diabetes and hearing health and is urging all Americans to take the Diabetes Risk Test and the Across America Hearing Check Challenge on American Diabetes Association Alert Dayâ„ . This year, Diabetes Alert Day is on March 22 and kicks off the "Join the Million Challenge"—a month-long effort to rally one million people to take the Diabetes Risk Test by April 22 to find out if they are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes.
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. Nor do the vast majority of doctors in today’s health care system include hearing health as a routine part of annual exams.
"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,” said Sergei Kochkin, PhD, BHI's executive director. “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 American Diabetes Association Alert Dayâ„ is a one-day "wake-up" call to inform the American public about the seriousness of diabetes. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) encourages people to join the movement to Stop Diabetes by taking the Diabetes Risk Test to find out if they, or their loved ones, are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes.
To become part of the movement to Stop Diabetes and get a free Diabetes Risk Test (English or Spanish), individuals can visit stopdiabetes.com, call 1-800-DIABETES (1-800-342-2383) or text JOIN to 69866 (Standard data and message rates apply). Although Diabetes Alert Day is a one-day event, the Diabetes Risk Test is available year round.
"Diabetes Alert Day is a tremendously valuable initiative because it prompts people to take a simple Diabetes Risk Test and to make changes in the way they live so they can preserve their health," 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 the Across America Hearing Check Challenge, a quick and confidential online hearing test to determine if they need a comprehensive hearing check by a hearing professional."
For more information about Diabetes Alert Day, visit stopdiabetes.com, where anyone can join the movement to Stop Diabetes, take the Diabetes Risk Test, learn secrets to stop diabetes, and easily share tools and resources with loved ones.
Diabetes is a serious disease that strikes nearly 26 million children and adults in the United States, according to the ADA. An additional 79 million, or one in three American adults, have pre-diabetes, which puts them at high risk for developing type 2 diabetes. Diabetes is called a “silent killer” because a quarter of those with the disease – 7 million – do not know they have it. For many, diagnosis may come seven to ten years after the onset of the disease. Therefore, early diagnosis is critical to successful treatment and delaying or preventing some of its complications, such as heart disease, blindness, kidney disease, stroke, amputation, and death.
According the ADA, everyone should be aware of the risk factors for type 2 diabetes. People who are overweight, under active (living a sedentary lifestyle) and over the age of 45 should consider themselves at risk for the disease. African Americans, Hispanics/Latinos, Native Americans, Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders and people who have a family history of the disease also are at an increased risk for type 2 diabetes. Studies have shown that type 2 diabetes can be prevented or delayed by losing just 7 percent of body weight (such as 15 pounds if you weigh 200) through regular physical activity (30 minutes a day, five days a week) and healthy eating. By understanding the risk, individuals can take the necessary steps to help prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes.
About Hearing Loss
Hearing loss is one of the most commonly unaddressed health conditions in America today, and affects more than 34 million Americans. Six out of ten Americans with hearing loss are below retirement age.
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.
Source: Better Hearing Institute