Hearing Health Blog

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 issues suddenly pounce you like a cat instead of sneaking up on you. Here’s a hypothetical: You get up one morning and jump in the shower and when you get out you notice your hearing seems off or different. Maybe muffled.

At first, you chalk it up to water in your ears, but when your hearing doesn’t get any better as the day progresses, you get a little more concerned.

At times like this, when you have a sudden profound difference in your hearing, you should get medical attention. The reason why you should seek help is that sudden hearing loss is usually a symptom of an underlying medical issue. Sometimes, that larger issue can be a blockage in your ear. Maybe some earwax.

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

Diabetes – What is it?

You’d be forgiven for not instantly seeing the connections between hearing loss and diabetes. Your ears and your pancreas seem very far apart, distance-wise.

Type 2 diabetes is a condition in which your body has trouble 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 make. That’s why treatments for diabetes usually involve injections or infusions of insulin.

What Does Diabetes Have to do With Your Hearing?

Diabetes is a common complicated affliction which can sometimes be degenerative. It needs to be handled cautiously, normally with the help of your physician. But what does that have to do with your hearing?

Believe it or not, a fairly common sign of type 2 diabetes is sudden hearing loss. Collateral damage to other areas of the body is common with diabetes which frequently has an impact on blood vessels and nerves. Tiny tiny hairs in your ears (called stereocilia and responsible for your ability to hear) are particularly sensitive to those exact changes. So you may experience sudden hearing loss even before other, more conventional symptoms of diabetes kick in (numb toes, for instance).

What Should I do?

You’ii want to get medical attention if your hearing has suddenly started giving you trouble. You might not even realize that you have diabetes at first, but these warning signs will begin to clue you in.

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

  • Infections of various types.
  • Growth of tissue in the ear.
  • Earwax buildup or other obstructions.
  • Blood circulation issues (these are sometimes caused by other problems, such as diabetes).
  • Autoimmune disorders.
  • Problems with your blood pressure.

It can be tough to know what’s causing your sudden hearing loss or what you should do about it without a medical diagnosis.

Sudden Hearing Loss Treatment Solutions

Regardless of which of these your sudden hearing loss is caused by, if you catch it soon enough, your hearing will usually return to normal with correct treatment. Once the blockage is removed or, with diabetes, once blood circulation issues have been addressed, your hearing will very likely get back to normal if you dealt with it quickly.

But quick and efficient management is the key here. There are some conditions that can result in irreversible damage if they go untreated (diabetes is, again, one of those conditions). So if you’re dealing with any type or amount of hearing loss, get it treated now.

Keep an Eye on Your Ears

Sudden hearing loss catch you by surprise, but it might be easier to detect, and you might catch it sooner if you get regular hearing screenings. These screenings can normally uncover specific hearing problems before they become noticeable to you.

There’s one more thing that diabetes and hearing loss share, managing them sooner will bring better outcomes. Untreated hearing loss can produce other health concerns such as loss of cognitive function. Give us a call 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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