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 sometimes, hearing problems bypass the sneaking entirely, in favor of a sudden (and often startling), cat-like pounce. It could happen like this: you get up, drag 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 suspect that you got some water in your ears, but as the day continues, and there’s no difference, you begin to get a bit worried.

At times like this, when you experience a sudden severe change to your hearing, you should seek medical attention. The reason why you should seek help is that sudden hearing loss is commonly a symptom of an underlying medical issue. At times, that larger problem can be a blockage in your ear. Perhaps some earwax.

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

Diabetes – What is it?

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

With type 2 diabetes, sugars in your body aren’t properly broken down and turned 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. This is why insulin injections are the most prevalent type of diabetes treatments.

What is The Connection Between Diabetes And Hearing?

Diabetes is a common, often degenerative (and complex), affliction. It needs to be managed 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 indicator of type 2 diabetes is sudden hearing loss. The link is based on the ability of diabetes to cause 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 you could suffer sudden hearing loss even before other, more traditional symptoms of diabetes kick in (numb toes, for example).

Is There Anything I Can Do?

You’ii want to get medical help 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.

As is the case with most forms of hearing loss, the sooner you get treatment, the more options you’ll have. But it’s not just diabetes you need to watch for. Sudden hearing loss could be caused by:

  • A blockage in the ear (like an build-up of earwax).
  • Blood circulation problems (these are often caused by other issues, such as diabetes).
  • Autoimmune conditions.
  • Tissue growth in the ear.
  • Problems with your blood pressure.
  • Some types of infections.

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

Treatment Solutions For Sudden Hearing Loss

The good news here is, whether your sudden hearing loss is caused by diabetes or infection (or any of these other problems), effective management of the underlying cause will often return 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. There are some conditions that can cause permanent harm if they go untreated (diabetes is, again, one of those conditions). So it’s essential that you seek out medical treatment as quickly as possible, and if you’re experiencing hearing loss get that treated.

Pay Attention to Your Hearing

Sudden hearing loss can sneak up on you, but it may 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.

Hearing loss and diabetes have one other thing in common: it’s best to get them treated as soon as possible. Neglected hearing loss can produce other health concerns like loss of cognitive function. Schedule an appointment with us for a hearing exam 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.
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