It’s true, hearing loss can sneak up on you. But there are times when hearing issues suddenly pounce you like a cat rather than sneaking up on you. Here’s a hypothetical: You wake up one morning and jump in the shower and when you get out you notice your hearing seems off or different. Muffled, maybe.
Initially, you chalk it up to water in your ears, but when your hearing doesn’t improve as the day advances, you get a bit more concerned.
At times like this, when you have a sudden drastic difference in your hearing, you should get medical attention. That’s because sudden hearing loss can often be a symptom of a bigger issue. It could be a simple matter of a blockage in your ear. It could be just a bit of earwax.
And sometimes that sudden hearing loss can be linked to diabetes.
What is Diabetes?
If you don’t instantly identify the connection between hearing loss and diabetes that would be understandable. Your pancreas seems like it’s pretty far away from your ears.
With type 2 diabetes, sugars in your body aren’t efficiently broken down and converted into energy. When your body doesn’t produce a sufficient amount of insulin or can’t process the insulin it is producing, this is the outcome. That’s why treatments for diabetes normally entail injections or infusions of insulin.
What is The Connection Between Diabetes And Hearing?
Diabetes is a common, often degenerative (and complex), condition. It needs to be handled cautiously, normally with the help of your physician. So how is that associated with your hearing?
Believe it or not, a fairly common sign of type 2 diabetes is sudden hearing loss. The connection is based on the ability of diabetes to cause collateral damage, typically to nerves and blood vessels around the extremities. Tiny tiny hairs in your ears (called stereocilia and in control of your ability to hear) are especially sensitive to those exact changes. So you might suffer sudden hearing loss even before other, more conventional symptoms of diabetes kick in (numb toes, for example).
What Should I do?
You’ii want to get medical attention if your hearing has suddenly started giving you trouble. Diabetes, for example, will often be entirely symptomless initially, so you may not even realize you have it until you begin to observe some of these red flags.
As is the situation with most types of hearing loss, the sooner you get treatment, the more options you’ll have. But it’s not only diabetes you need to watch for. Sudden hearing loss can also be caused by:
- Infections of various types.
- Growth of tissue in the ear.
- An obstruction in the ear (like an ear wax build-up).
- Autoimmune diseases.
- Blood circulation problems (these are sometimes a result of other issues, like diabetes).
- Problems with your blood pressure.
Without a proper medical diagnosis, it can be difficult to figure out the cause of your sudden hearing loss and how to treat the root 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 issues), effective management of the underlying cause will usually bring your hearing back to healthy levels if you recognize it early. Once the obstruction is removed or, in the case of diabetes, once blood circulation problems have been managed, your hearing will most likely get back to normal if you dealt with it promptly.
But that truly does depend on prompt and efficient treatment. If they are not treated in time, some conditions, including diabetes, will result in irreversible damage to your hearing. So it’s vital that you seek out medical treatment as quickly as possible, and if you’re suffering from hearing loss get that treated.
Pay Attention to Your Hearing
If you get routine hearing screenings, sudden hearing loss may be easier to detect and you may stop it from sneaking up on you by catching it sooner. Specific hearing issues can be detected in these screenings before you notice them.
Diabetes and hearing loss have one other thing in common: it’s best to get them treated as soon as possible. Other problems, including deterioration of cognitive function, can result from untreated hearing loss. Make an appointment with us for a hearing assessment right away.