People with Chronic Kidney Disease Should Have Hearing Checked During National Kidney Month, Better Hearing Institute Urges
People with chronic kidney disease (CKD) and other diseases of the kidney should make hearing checks a routine part of their medical care, according to the Better Hearing Institute (BHI), which is offering a free, quick, and confidential online hearing check at www.hearingcheck.org. BHI is offering the online convenience as part of its effort to raise awareness of the link between kidney disease and hearing loss during National Kidney Month in March, and in recognition of World Kidney Day on March 8. The online hearing check will help people determine if they need a comprehensive hearing test by a hearing healthcare professional.
"Unaddressed hearing loss can have very significant consequences on a person's day-to-day living and greatly undermine quality of life," said Sergei Kochkin, PhD, BHI's executive director. "We need to include hearing screenings as a routine part of the medical care for people with kidney disease to help optimize their quality of life."
As published in the American Journal of Kidney Diseases and highlighted on the National Kidney Foundation web site, a team of Australian researchers found that older adults with moderate chronic kidney disease (CKD) have a higher prevalence of hearing loss than those of the same age without CKD.
According to the National Kidney Foundation, an Australian research team assessed more than 2,900 individuals aged 50 and older, including 513 with moderate chronic kidney disease. Of those with CKD, more than 54 percent reported some level of hearing loss compared to only 28 percent of the rest of the group. Nearly 30 percent of the CKD participants showed severe hearing loss compared with only 10 percent of the non-CKD participants.
Referencing the Australian study, Dr. Kerry Willis, Senior Vice President of Scientific Activities at the National Kidney Foundation stated: "These findings could lead to a modification of the usual care of people with CKD. Earlier clinical hearing assessments and fitting of hearing aids in CKD patients can improve quality of life and lead to better management of underlying conditions which could, in turn, potentially preserve hearing function."
About Chronic Kidney Disease
According to the National Kidney Foundation, more than 26 million Americans over age 20 have CKD—roughly 13 percent of the adult population. And people with high blood pressure, diabetes, and/or a family history of kidney disease are at risk for developing CKD. The good news is that there are things that people can do to help prevent or delay the progression of CKD.
The National Kidney Foundation offers these top five tips for keeping both the kidneys and heart healthy.
1. Don't smoke. The strongest modifiable risk fact for both kidney and heart disease is smoking. There is nothing you can do that is more important in the prevention of both heart and kidney disease as stopping smoking.
2. Control your blood pressure. High blood pressure causes both kidney and heart disease.
3. Eat a proper diet. This should be patterned after the DASH diet.
4. Maintain a healthy body weight, which requires balancing calorie intake with exercise and activity.
5. Have your physician test you for both heart and kidney disease. It turns out that heart disease is a risk factor for kidney disease and kidney disease is a known risk factor for heart disease. Hence, if you know you have one, you should have yourself tested for the other.
About Hearing Loss
Approximately one in 10 Americans, or 34 million people, have some degree of hearing loss. Yet, fewer than 15 percent of physicians today screen for hearing loss during annual physical exams.
Numerous studies have linked untreated hearing loss to a wide range of physical and emotional conditions, including impaired memory and ability to learn new tasks, reduced alertness, increased risk to personal safety, irritability, negativism, anger, fatigue, tension, stress, depression, and diminished psychological and overall health.
Fortunately, the vast majority of people with hearing loss can be helped with hearing aids. And three out of four hearing aid users report improvements in their quality of life due to wearing hearing aids.
For more information on hearing loss, visit betterhearing.org.