In our previous blog post, we illustrated how diabetes, hearing loss, and dementia can form a vicious cycle that has a tremendous negative impact on the lives of patients as they age. But it’s important to remember that diabetes, hearing loss, and dementia have another thing in common: none of these ailments are a natural part of the aging process. They are all avoidable - and, once present, they are all treatable conditions that should be addressed as quickly as possible.
How can we and our loved ones combat the effects of this triple threat to the body, mind, and ears? Here are four essential steps recommended for all aging patients by the team at Hearing Unlimited:
1. Monitor Your Diet.
If you’re living with diabetes, you know that maintaining a healthy, balanced diet is one of the most important steps toward managing your blood sugar and your condition overall. Some of the best dietary options for diabetic patients include:
- Leafy greens
- Greek yogurt
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil (an excellent butter substitute in many recipes!)
Well-managed diabetes is less likely to contribute to hearing loss and eventual dementia, but that’s not the only way food can help you prevent the progression of Alzheimer’s. Consider incorporating healthy brain food that promotes memory and concentration into your diet, including:
- Fatty fish (includes salmon and trout)
- Coffee in moderation
- Pumpkin seeds
2. Set an Exercise Routine.
In both diabetes and dementia, glucose - a simple sugar our bodies use for energy - is not used properly in the brain. Depriving the brain of oxygen and glucose results in nerve cell death, which decreases the brain’s ability to interpret messages. So how can you maintain the regular flow of oxygen to your brain? Follow this rule of thumb: what’s good for your heart is good for your brain, including cardiovascular exercise. We know it can be difficult to stay physically active as your motion becomes limited with age, so here are a few great exercise suggestions you can continue to use at any point in life!
3. Stay Socially Active.
There’s no better way to maintain an active mind than to stay engaged with your fellow human beings. This is especially important as we get older, as the restrictions that come with age and mobility can make it easy to lapse into a solitary lifestyle. Luckily, we live at a time when there are plenty of options to socialize with one another, from events at public libraries to clubs that form around a common hobby or interest. It’s also important for younger loved ones to visit and engage often, and offer to help with transportation if it becomes an obstacle.
4. Don’t Let Hearing Loss Go Untreated.
Hearing loss may be an anticipated part of aging, but that doesn’t mean it’s a condition to leave untreated just because someone is older. As our previous blog illustrated, prolonged hearing loss - whether due to diabetes or simply age - contributes significantly to a person’s risk of developing dementia, making regular checkups with the ear specialist an essential part of one’s medical regimen. If you’ve already been fitted with a hearing aid, it’s equally important to check in with the audiologist to ensure your device is working properly at all times.
At Hearing Unlimited, we want all of our patients and their family members to be aware of the connections between dementia, hearing loss, and diabetes. If you or a family member are interested in scheduling a hearing test or using another of our care services, please reach out to us online or by phone today. Following your first contact, we can conduct a proper hearing loss test and begin to make recommendations for a personalized hearing loss treatment plan. We can also provide more information on hearing loss due to diabetes and its correlation with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.