HearPO, Plymouth, Minn, a subsidiary of Amplifon, has formed a national strategic partnership with the American Diabetes Association to provide additional resources and avenues to educate people with diabetes, medical practitioners, and the general public about the connection between diabetes and hearing loss.

HearPO, along with its sister companies, Miracle-Ear, Sonus, and the Elite Hearing Network, is a large distributor of hearing aids and hearing services worldwide. The American Diabetes Association and HearPO are working to locate and treat diabetic patients who, for whatever reason, have not been diagnosed or treated for hearing loss.

"We are pleased HearPO is joining with us to spread the word that there is a direct correlation between diabetes and hearing loss," says Nash M. Childs, PE, chair of the board, American Diabetes Association. "More specifically, we’d like to educate older adults with diabetes, as this population faces many issues in managing their disease, and through this relationship we’ll be able to provide additional tools and resources."

Patients with diabetes are more than twice as likely as those without the disease to have hearing loss, according to a recent National Institutes of Health (NIH) study. More than 34 million Americans are affected by hearing loss, which can be fully corrected in 95% of all cases, according to HearPO. Many of those affected are people with diabetes. HearPO and the American Diabetes Association are collaborating, using several outreach methods to encourage people to be tested and treated when necessary.

"HearPO’s national awareness campaign will allow us to focus the efforts of our Sonus and HearPO consumer brands to proactively educate and assist an often unrecognized and underserved segment of the population," says Michele Fusco, senior VP of Medical Business Operations. 

HearPO and the Association have outlined the following methods to better educate and target diabetic patients suffering from untreated hearing loss:

  • HearPO will offer testing sites and educational seminars in conjunction with the 2011 American Diabetes Association EXPO season, which draws roughly 70,000 participants, particularly those living with diabetes.
  • The Diabetes & Older Americans educational booklet, which will be available in spring 2011, focuses on the broad health needs of older adults diagnosed with diabetes. This educational resource will also spread awareness about the incidence of hearing loss among Americans with diabetes.
  • Diabetes.org This Association Web site, with 48,000 unique visitors daily, will now feature expanded content about hearing loss as a complication of diabetes. One of the featured topics will include hearing impairment and strategies for dealing with it. Specifically, the Association will provide a link from the Treatment & Care page to the newly added information related to hearing impairment. Web visitors will be linked to HearPO’s locator function to learn where they can get a hearing screening and take part in HearPO discount programs, and they can download a PDF version of the educational booklet. The would would like a copy of the booklet can also call 800-DIABETES.

Click here to check out HRs Podcast spotlighting the link between diabetes and hearing loss.

[Source: HearPO]