Several recent studies have linked hearing loss to diabetes mellitus. In an attempt to raise public awareness of this relationship between these two chronic conditions and other co-morbidities linked to hearing loss of adult onset, the Audiology Project was recently founded.
The founding of the Audiology Project occurred after five years of engaging in ongoing dialogue with small group of audiologists lead by audiologist, Kathy Dowd, communicating with the Centers for Disease Control about diabetic ear disease. The Audiology Project officially began as a not-for-profit in 2016 with a mission of improving the lives of people with chronic conditions, such as diabetes-induced hearing loss and balance problems through early audiology diagnosis, treatment and management. Until very recently, the comorbidity of hearing loss, balance and diabetes was unknown to many agencies (including The Centers for Disease Control).
Thanks to early advocacy efforts in 2011 by the (now) Audiology Project Executive Director, Dr. Kathy Dowd, both the American Diabetes Association and Johnson and Johnson Diabetes Institute publicly recognized these concerns with diabetes and hearing and balance difficulties in 2013. In the spring of 2016 CDC considered adding the recommendation for audiology evaluations for patients with diabetes in their updated publication “Taking Care of Your Diabetes”.
In light of the welcome awareness by the CDC and recommendations by Johnson and Johnson Diabetes Institute director and American Optometric Association public health officer, a stakeholders meeting was convened by the Audiology Project on September 28, 2016 and hosted by Salus University in Elkins Park, PA. The three primary audiology associations (AAA, ADA and ASHA ) were invited to attend and participate.
Presenters at the meeting included CDC, American Association of Diabetes Education, American Optometric Association, Pharmacology and other audiology stakeholders. The meeting focused on ways to develop educational materials, establishing universal clinical audiological guidelines and to raise national awareness of diabetic ear disease. At the end of the meeting, all three of the primary audiology organizations, articulated the need to have a not-for-profit organization, such as the Audiology Project, to orchestrate the efforts in formulating and directing all agreed upon programs pertaining to chronic disease and audiological management hearing loss and balance disorders at government, university and audiology practices.
The Audiology Project is working with AAA and ADA to gather subject matter experts in the areas of diabetes and associated hearing/balance disorders. For more information on the Audiology Project and if you are interested in working with the group, please contact Kathy Dowd, AuD at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit their website: www.theaudiologyproject.com