Thursday, March 26, 2015

Can you hear me?

Silent Sam was sitting innocently watching the morning news.
Can I take a picture? Let's just say that he was not a willing victim.

In the past, I have written about how diabetes affects the feet, the eyes, and the teeth.  Now I have been reading about diabetes affecting the hearing. 

A recent study found that “hearing loss is twice as common in people with diabetes as it is in those who don’t have the disease.”

The Better Hearing Institute reports that younger people with diabetes were at an even greater risk of having some hearing loss.  Hearing loss in people over 60 with diabetes was 1.58 times higher than the normal population.The rate jumped to 2.61 times higher in the diabetic population under the age of 60. 

There does not seem to be any conclusive answer why hearing seems to be affected by diabetes.  It is possible that as a result of poor blood glucose level management that the small blood vessels in the ears are affected.  But this is an area that needs more research.

What does this mean to you?

If you have diabetes, then you should also talk to your physician about having your hearing checked.  It is thought that such a check can help you watch for signs of hearing loss.  Hearing loss can have a profound affect on your health.  Think of it this way, if you can’t hear well, you might not want to go out in public where you won’t be able to hear others talk.  Also, it is frustrating to have to ask people to repeat themselves all the time.  All this can lead you to withdraw from your social life. 

An audiologist giving a hearing exam. 

What should I do if I think I have hearing loss?

You should get your hearing checked.  This will tell you if you have a hearing loss. (A family story – My mother was sure my father suffered from hearing loss.  She nagged him until he went and had his hearing checked.  His hearing was fine!  He was diagnosed with “selective hearing”.  It has been a family joke ever since.)

If you do have hearing loss that could be helped with hearing aids, get them and use them.  I know from having a relative with hearing aids that using them can be a hard adjustment. Please make the effort.  It will be to your benefit to be able to hear better. 

My hearing is fine but what can I do to protect it?

First of all, maintaining good control over your blood sugar level is an important step for your overall health. One of the studies indicated that women between the ages of 60 –75 who had good control over their diabetes had better hearing than their counterparts with poor control.  Maintaining good control over your diabetes will make a huge difference in not just your hearing but in your entire physical condition. 

The other part of maintaining good hearing is using ear protection.  Everyone is at risk of having some hearing loss due to noise.  Carry ear plugs with you for when you find yourself in a high level of noise.  Make sure you don’t have your personal devices (phone, MP3 player, tablet) turned up too high.  Limit your use of ear buds.  If you find yourself in a situation where there are loud noises, walk away from that situation. 

Taking care of your hearing is important to your social well being.  Please take the time to talk to your doctor about your hearing. Have you had your hearing checked?

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

There is an app for that.

How often have you heard the saying “There’s an app for that.”  These days there are “apps” for everything and sometimes that is a really good thing. (Except of course for the really terrible apps.  I read about one that was Christmas at the Dentists which had ads throughout for a funeral home. Such holiday cheer!)

I was reading today about a company by the name of Glooko. The company makes a device that can sync to your phone to download all the information from your glucose meter.  It can sync from over 30+ of the current meters on the market. It will not only download the information but it can put it in graph form.  It can also sync to your fitness devices like Fitbit to incorporate your fitness into your blood sugar monitoring so you can see the direct affect that your exercising has on your levels. 

The reason that Glooko is in the news is because they  have picked up some major funding to work on their next product.  They want to make an app that will connect to wireless meters and glucose pumps.  They have gotten major funding from several sources including the medical device maker, Medtronic.  In the article, it states the Glooko has picked up $16.5 million dollars in financing from various sources, including Medtronic, for the new product.

There is also an interesting article and video about the current device from ABC 7 News.
I think it is really great that there is work being done to help people manage diabetes better.  Anything that can help will mean better and longer lives. 

Thanks for reading. 

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Daylight Savings Time

So, just to complicate our lives, Daylight Savings Time starts on Sunday.  Yes, it is the curse of the “spring forward” at 2 a.m. on Sunday morning. 

I don’t know about you but I have been feeling extremely upbeat about the days being longer.  There is nothing more depressing than getting up in the dark and leaving work in the dark. 

I will admit, only to you, that I have more trouble with the time change than I should. According to one school of thought, it should take you one day per hour to adjust to a time change.  I think that means that on Monday, you should be be adjusted.  That is not the case for me and I am sure I am not alone. I have read that there are more car accidents on that Monday morning than other Monday mornings. 

So, you might want to get to bed a bit earlier on Sunday night and not try and rush off so early on Monday.  Make sure you are really awake before heading out to work.  With all those groggy people heading into to work, maybe the thing to do is to have a dance party first thing Monday morning so that people wake up when they start their work day. 

(Okay, I am having too much fun imagining that.  How about you?  Are you smiling?)

Happy time change!