Hearing Loss and Diabetes in an African American Adult

Hearing Loss and Diabetes in an African American Adult

Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 18
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-2261-5.ch014
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Research has linked hearing loss to other medical conditions such as diabetes. Studies have shown that hearing loss is more common in individuals who have diabetes than in those who do not. Hyperglycemia, or raised blood sugar, is a common effect of uncontrolled diabetes and over time leads to serious damage to many of the body's systems, especially the nerves and the blood vessels. Consequently, diabetes can affect the blood vessels of the inner ear and the vestibulocochlear (VIII cranial) nerve fibers. This case study examines the interrelationship between diabetes and hearing loss in an African American adult while examining the issues of the higher prevalence of diabetes in African Americans and the role of audiologists in the care of individuals with hearing loss and diabetes.
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Research has linked hearing loss to other disabling conditions in adults, such as diabetes, cognitive decline and dementia, clinical depression, cardiovascular disease, and other illnesses (Bainbridge, Hoffman, & Cowie, 2008; Lin & Ferruci, 2012; Mener, Betz, Genther, Chen, &, Lin, 2013). These linkages are referred to as “comorbidities,” which refers to the presence of more than one disorder in the same person. Comorbidity is associated with worse health outcomes, more complex clinical management, and increased health care costs.

Hearing loss and diabetes are both chronic conditions that are similar and can co-exist in a patient. They are both invisible, progressive, often incurable, and treatable. Both require professional care as well as self-managed behavioral change for long-term success. There are racial/ethnic differences in the prevalence of hearing loss as well as in the prevalence of diabetes. For African Americans the prevalence rates are diametrically opposite. Hearing loss is less common in non-Hispanic African Americans compared to non-Hispanic Whites, while diabetes is more common in African Americans than Whites. That can lead to a complicated relationship between hearing loss and diabetes.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Oxidative Stress: Is an imbalance of free radicals (unstable atoms) and antioxidants (man-made or natural substances that may prevent or delay some types of cell damage caused by free radicals) in the body, which can lead to cell and tissue damage.

Microangiopathy: Is also known as microvascular disease, or small vessel disease. It is an angiopathy (i.e., disease of blood vessels) affecting small blood vessels in the body.

Hyperglycemia: Is high blood sugar.

Health Disparity: Is a difference in health status of people from different groups.

Interprofessional Collaborative Practice: Occurs when multiple service providers from different professional backgrounds provide comprehensive healthcare, or educational services, by working with individuals and their families, caregivers, and communities to deliver the highest quality of care.

Prevalence: Is the proportion of a population who have a specific characteristic in a given time period.

Neuropathy: Is a disease or dysfunction of one or more peripheral nerves, typically causing tinkling, numbness, or muscle weakness.

Risk Factors: Is any attribute, characteristic or exposure of an individual that increases the likelihood of developing a disease or injury.

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