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 rather than sneaking up on you. It could happen like this: you wake up, drag yourself out of bed, and perhaps you don’t notice until you finish showering but your hearing feels…off, or different Maybe muffled.

You just suspect that you got some water in your ears, but as the day continues, and there’s no difference, you start to get a bit concerned.

It’s these moments when hearing loss seems to attack suddenly, as if from the shadows somewhere, that it’s a good decision to seek out some medical assistance. That’s because sudden hearing loss can often be a symptom of a larger problem. It could be a simple matter of a blockage in your ear. It might be just a bit of earwax.

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

What is Diabetes?

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

Type 2 diabetes is a condition in which your body has difficulty processing sugars into energy. This happens because your body either isn’t producing enough insulin or it’s not reacting to the insulin that you do produce. That’s why treatments for diabetes usually entail injections or infusions of insulin.

What Does Diabetes Have to do With Your Hearing?

Diabetes is a common, often degenerative (and complicated), affliction. With the help of your doctor, it needs to be handled carefully. But what does that have to do with your ears?

Well, it turns out that sudden hearing loss can frequently be an indication that you’re experiencing type 2 diabetes. Collateral damage to other areas of the body is common with diabetes which often has an affect on blood vessels and nerves. These exact changes have a strong affect on the little hairs in your ears responsible for your hearing (called stereocilia). So even before other more widely recognized diabetes symptoms appear (like numb toes), you may go through sudden hearing loss.

What Should I do?

You’ii want to get medical attention if your hearing has suddenly started acting up. You might not even know that you have diabetes in the beginning, but these warning signs will begin to clue you in.

As is the case with most types of hearing loss, the sooner you seek out treatment, the more possibilities you’ll have. But it’s not only diabetes you need to be watchful for. Sudden hearing loss could be caused by:

  • Infections of various types.
  • Blood circulation problems (these are sometimes a result of other problems, like diabetes).
  • Autoimmune disorders.
  • Blood pressure issues.
  • Tissue growth in the ear.
  • A blockage in the ear (like an ear wax build-up).

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

Sudden Hearing Loss Treatment Solutions

The good news here is, whether your sudden hearing loss is related to diabetes or infection (or any of these other issues), successful management of the underlying cause will often bring your hearing back to normal levels if you recognize it early. Once the obstruction is removed or, in the case of diabetes, once blood circulation issues have been addressed, your hearing will likely return to normal if you addressed it quickly.

But that really does depend on quick and effective treatment. There are some disorders that can result in irreversible harm if they go neglected (diabetes is, again, one of those conditions). So it’s essential that you get medical treatment as quickly as you can, and if you’re suffering from hearing loss get that treated.

Keep an Eye on Your Ears

If you undergo routine hearing screenings, sudden hearing loss might be easier to detect and you might stop it from sneaking up on you by catching it sooner. These screenings can usually detect specific hearing problems before they become obvious to you.

There’s one more thing that diabetes and hearing loss have in common, treating them sooner will bring better outcomes. Untreated hearing loss can produce other health concerns such as loss of cognitive function. Make an appointment with us for a hearing test right away.

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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.

Main Line Audiology Consultants, PC