By W.L. “Hunter” Huntley, III, HAS., BC-HIS
The month of November is designated as American Diabetes Month. This month is designed to raise awareness of this silent, but atrocious disease. Diabetes can cause a multitude of physical complications. Elevated glucose levels can cause a plethora of problems on the endocrine system; adversely affecting numerous areas of the body; which may result in poor circulation, neuropathy, sexual dysfunction, internal organ damage, blindness, hearing loss and amputation. People with diabetes, especially individuals over the age of 60, are twice as likely to suffer from hearing loss versus people that maintain normal glucose levels.
Some of these afflictions can be treated effectively; however some maladies have to be endured for the rest of their lives.
Individuals suffering from hearing impairment can usually be successfully fit with hearing instruments. The effectiveness of digital hearing devices is better than ever. Digital technology now allows hearing instruments to be prescription-fitted with computer chips. Changes in vision require purchasing a new prescription. Unlike vision when an individuals hearing changes; the current hearing devices computer chips can be re-programmed to compensate for additional decline in a persons hearing.
This gives the hearing instruments two to three times the life of traditional analog devices, which are basically obsolete.
Directional microphones now allow the instrument wearer to pick up sounds in front of them, but not amplify ambient noises from behind; improving speech understanding in noise. Automatic telephone response allows wearers to put the telephone up to their ear with no more “squeal”. In addition, multi-memory allows the user to change the program of their devices with the simple push of a button; depending on what kind of listening environment they are in. Instruments can be turned up for ease of listening from a distance at church, or for watching television, to keep the volume of the T.V. at “normal” listening levels. This way, the television doesn’t have to be “blasting” everyone else in the room.
Another program can be set to turn down the devices, in case a person encounters an environment that is excessively noisy. The ambient noise is not as pronounced, providing a more pleasant overall listening experience.
The most important thing an individual can do is address the issue as soon as possible. Early detection many times is the key to be fitted successfully with hearing instrument; by keeping the auditory portion of the brain stimulated “properly” which will help a person stay sharp mentally over time.
A study by Johns Hopkins Medical University and the National Institute on Aging found that individuals with hearing loss are much more likely to develop dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Those with severe hearing problems, the study reports, were five times more likely to develop dementia then those with normal hearing. This occurs due to lack of “proper” stimulation to the auditory portion of the brain that interprets speech. Even mild hearing loss doubled the risk of dementia. That risk, says Dr. Lin, a co-author of the study, appeared to increase once hearing loss began to interfere with the ability of the individual to communicate. A prime example would be a noisy restaurant, or anywhere else ambient noise is present.
Obtaining hearing assistance is as simple as wearing glasses or contact lenses. You should hear what you’ve been missing. Call 997-8288 to schedule your FREE, no obligation hearing evaluation today.