Woman testing her sugar to see if diabetes is affecting her hearing health.

Hearing loss can sneak up on you, it’s true. But there are times when hearing problems suddenly pounce you like a cat instead of sneaking up on you. It could happen like this: you get up, pull yourself out of bed, and maybe you don’t notice until you get out of the shower but your hearing feels…off, or different Muffled, maybe.

You just assume that you got some water in your ears, but as the day continues, and there’s no improvement, you start to get a little worried.

It’s times like this when hearing loss seems to attack suddenly, as if out of nowhere, that it’s a good idea to seek out some medical help. That’s because sudden hearing loss can often be a symptom of a larger issue. Sometimes, that larger issue can be a blockage in your ear. Perhaps some earwax.

But sudden hearing loss can also be a sign of diabetes.

What is Diabetes?

If you don’t instantly recognize the link between hearing loss and diabetes that would be understandable. Your pancreas seems pretty far away from your ears.

With type 2 diabetes, sugars in your body aren’t efficiently broken down and turned into energy. When your body doesn’t make a sufficient amount of insulin or can’t process the insulin it is producing, this is the result. That’s why treatments for diabetes usually involve injections or infusions of insulin.

What is The Link Between Diabetes And Hearing?

Diabetes is a common complicated condition which can often be degenerative. It needs to be handled carefully, in most cases with the help of your doctor. So how is that associated with your ears?

Believe it or not, a fairly common indicator of type 2 diabetes is sudden hearing loss. The link is based on the ability of diabetes to create collateral damage, most often to nerves and blood vessels around the extremities. These exact changes have a powerful impact on the tiny hairs in your ears responsible for your hearing (called stereocilia). So even before other more widely recognized diabetes symptoms manifest (like numb toes), you might go through sudden hearing loss.

What Should I do?

If you’re in this situation, and your hearing has suddenly begun acting up, you’ll definitely want to get examined by a medical professional. Diabetes, for instance, will often be completely symptomless initially, so you might not even know you have it until you start to observe some of these red flags.

Seeking out help as soon as possible will give you the greatest number of possibilities, as is the situation for most types of hearing loss. But it’s not just diabetes you need to watch for. Sudden hearing loss could be caused by:

  • Autoimmune disorders.
  • Infections of varied types.
  • Problems with your blood pressure.
  • Blood circulation issues (these are sometimes a result of other issues, like diabetes).
  • Growth of tissue in the ear.
  • Earwax buildup or other obstructions.

Without a proper medical diagnosis, it can be challenging to figure out what’s causing your sudden hearing loss and how to treat the root symptoms.

Sudden Hearing Loss Treatment Options

Here’s the good news, whether your sudden hearing loss is brought on by diabetes or infection (or any of these other problems), effective treatment of the underlying cause will often return your hearing back to healthy levels if you recognize it early. If you promptly address the problem, your hearing is likely to return to normal once the blockage is removed, or in the case of diabetes, once you address the circulation problems.

But quick and effective management is the key here. If they are not addressed in time, some conditions, including diabetes, will result in irreversible harm to your hearing. So if you’re dealing with any type or degree of hearing loss, get it treated now.

Pay Attention to Your Hearing

If you get regular hearing screenings, sudden hearing loss may be easier to detect and you may stop it from sneaking up on you by detecting it sooner. Specific hearing issues can be detected in these screenings before you observe them.

Hearing loss and diabetes have one other thing in common: it’s best to get them treated as soon as possible. Other problems, like degeneration of cognitive function, can result from untreated hearing loss. Contact us to schedule a hearing test.

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The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.

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