Hearing loss can sneak up on you, it’s true. But there are times when hearing issues suddenly pounce you like a cat instead of sneaking up on you. Here’s a hypothetical: You wake up one morning and go into the shower and when you get out you notice your hearing seems off or different. Muffled, maybe.
At first, you think that you have water in your ears, but when your hearing doesn’t improve as the day advances, you get a little more worried.
It’s these moments when hearing loss seems to strike suddenly, as if out of nowhere, that it’s a good decision to seek out some medical attention. That’s because sudden hearing loss can often be a symptom of a bigger problem. In some cases, that larger issue can be a blockage in your ear. It might be just a bit of earwax.
And sometimes that sudden hearing loss can be linked to diabetes.
What is Diabetes?
If you don’t immediately identify the link between hearing loss and diabetes that would be understandable. Your pancreas and your ears seem very far apart, distance-wise.
With type 2 diabetes, sugars in your body aren’t efficiently broken down and turned into energy. This occurs because your body either isn’t producing enough insulin or it’s not reacting to the insulin that you do make. That’s why treatments for diabetes normally involve injections or infusions of insulin.
What is The Connection Between Diabetes And Hearing?
Diabetes is a common, often degenerative (and complicated), condition. It needs to be managed cautiously, in most cases with the help of your physician. So how is that related to your ears?
Believe it or not, a fairly common indicator of type 2 diabetes is sudden hearing loss. The link lies in the ability of diabetes to cause collateral damage, frequently to nerves and blood vessels around the extremities. Tiny hairs in your ears (called stereocilia and in control of your ability to hear) are especially sensitive to exactly those changes. So you could suffer sudden hearing loss even before other, more traditional symptoms of diabetes kick in (numb toes, for example).
What Should I do?
If you’re in this situation, and your hearing has suddenly begun acting up, you’ll certainly want to get looked over by a medical professional. You might not even realize that you have diabetes in the beginning, but these red flags will begin to clue you in.
Seeking out help as soon as possible will give you the greatest number of possibilities, as is the situation for most forms of hearing loss. But you need to keep an eye out for more than just diabetes. Sudden hearing loss could be caused by:
- Autoimmune conditions.
- Some types of infections.
- Problems with blood circulation (sometimes the consequence of other issues such as diabetes).
- Blood pressure issues.
- Earwax buildup or other obstructions.
- Growth of tissue in the ear.
Without a proper medical diagnosis, it can be difficult to figure out the cause of your sudden hearing loss and how to address the root symptoms.
Treatment Solutions For Sudden Hearing Loss
The good news here is, whether your sudden hearing loss is related to diabetes or infection (or any of these other issues), effective treatment of the underlying cause will often bring your hearing back to normal levels if you catch 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 treatment is the key here. If they are not addressed in time, some conditions, including diabetes, will lead to permanent damage to your hearing. So if you’re dealing with any type or degree of hearing loss, have it treated now.
Keep an Eye on Your Ears
Sudden hearing loss can sneak up on you, but it might be easier to detect, and you might catch it sooner if you get regular hearing screenings. These screenings can typically uncover specific hearing problems before they become obvious to you.
There’s one more thing that diabetes and hearing loss share, treating them sooner will bring better results. Other issues, including degeneration of cognitive function, can result from neglected hearing loss. Make an appointment with us for a hearing test right away.