Woman testing her sugar to see if diabetes is affecting her hearing health.

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 go into 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 anxious.

It’s these moments when hearing loss seems to attack suddenly, as if out of nowhere, that it’s a good plan to get some medical assistance. That’s because sudden hearing loss can often be a symptom of a bigger issue. It may be a simple matter of a blockage in your ear. It might be just a bit of earwax.

And sometimes that sudden hearing loss can be related to diabetes.

What is Diabetes?

If you don’t instantly identify the link between hearing loss and diabetes that would be understandable. Your pancreas seems like it’s a long way from your ears.

With type 2 diabetes, sugars in your body aren’t efficiently broken down and turned into energy. When your body doesn’t make enough insulin or can’t process the insulin it is making, this is the result. This is why insulin injections are the most common type of diabetes treatments.

What is The Link Between Diabetes And Hearing?

Diabetes is a common, often degenerative (and complex), affliction. With the help of your physician, it needs to be managed carefully. So how is that associated with your hearing?

Well, it turns out that sudden hearing loss can often be an indication that you’re experiencing type 2 diabetes. The connection lies in the ability of diabetes to create 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 particularly sensitive to those exact changes. So you could experience sudden hearing loss even before other, more traditional symptoms of diabetes appear (numb toes, for instance).

What Should I do?

If you’re in this situation, and your hearing has suddenly started giving you trouble, you’ll definitely want to get examined by a medical professional. You might not even realize that you have diabetes at first, but these warning signs will start to clue you in.

Seeking out help as soon as possible will give you the largest number of options, as is the case for most types of hearing loss. But it’s not only diabetes you need to watch for. Here are some other possible causes of sudden hearing loss:

  • An obstruction in the ear (like an ear wax build-up).
  • Problems with blood circulation (often the consequence of other problems like diabetes).
  • Tissue growth in the ear.
  • Blood pressure issues.
  • Autoimmune conditions.
  • Infections of varied types.

Without an appropriate medical diagnosis, it can be challenging to figure out the cause of your sudden hearing loss and how to treat the underlying symptoms.

Treatment Options For Sudden Hearing Loss

Here’s the good news, whether your sudden hearing loss is brought on by diabetes or infection (or any of these other problems), effective treatment of the underlying cause will often bring your hearing back to normal levels if you recognize 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 management is the key here. If they are not treated in time, some conditions, including diabetes, will result in irreversible damage to your hearing. So it’s essential that you get medical treatment as quickly as possible, and if you’re suffering from hearing loss get that treated.

Keep an Eye on Your Ears

Sudden hearing loss catch you by surprise, but it might be easier to detect, and you could catch it sooner if you undergo regular hearing screenings. These screenings can typically detect specific hearing problems before they become obvious to you.

Hearing loss and diabetes have one other thing in common: the sooner you get treatment, the better. Other issues, including degeneration of cognitive function, can result from neglected hearing loss. Make 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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