Hearing loss can sneak up on you, it’s true. But sometimes, hearing issues bypass the sneaking completely, in favor of a sudden (and often startling), cat-like pounce. 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. 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 little worried.
It’s these moments when hearing loss seems to strike suddenly, as if from the shadows somewhere, that it’s a smart plan to get some medical help. That’s because sudden hearing loss can frequently be a symptom of a larger issue. At times, that larger problem can be an obstruction in your ear. Perhaps some earwax.
But sudden hearing loss can also be a symptom of diabetes.
Diabetes – What is it?
You’d be forgiven for not immediately seeing the connections between hearing loss and diabetes. Your ears and your pancreas seem very far apart, distance-wise.
With type 2 diabetes, sugars in your body aren’t properly broken down and turned into energy. When your body doesn’t make a sufficient amount of insulin or can’t process the insulin it is making, this is the outcome. That’s why treatments for diabetes normally involve injections or infusions of insulin.
What Does Diabetes Have to do With Your Hearing?
Diabetes is a common complex affliction which can sometimes be degenerative. It needs to be managed carefully, usually with the help of your physician. But what does that have to do with your ears?
Well, it turns out that sudden hearing loss can often be an indication that you’re developing type 2 diabetes. The connection 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 might suffer sudden hearing loss even before other, more conventional symptoms of diabetes appear (numb toes, for instance).
Is There Anything I Can Do?
You’ii want to get medical attention if your hearing has suddenly started giving you trouble. You may not even be aware that you have diabetes in the beginning, but these red flags will start 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 could be caused by:
- Issues with blood circulation (often the consequence of other issues including diabetes).
- Growth of tissue in the ear.
- Autoimmune conditions.
- Infections of varied types.
- Blood pressure issues.
- An obstruction in the ear (like an ear wax build-up).
It can be difficult to know what’s causing your sudden hearing loss or what to do about it without a medical diagnosis.
Treatment Solutions For Sudden Hearing Loss
Here’s the good news, whether your sudden hearing loss is caused by diabetes or infection (or any of these other issues), successful treatment of the underlying cause will usually return your hearing back to normal levels if you recognize it early. Once the blockage is removed or, in the case of diabetes, once blood circulation problems have been addressed, your hearing will most likely return to normal if you addressed it promptly.
But that really does depend on quick and effective treatment. There are some conditions that can cause irreversible damage if they go neglected (diabetes is, again, one of those conditions). So if you’re coping with any type or amount of hearing loss, get it treated now.
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. Specific hearing issues can be detected in these screenings before you notice them.
There’s one more thing that diabetes and hearing loss have in common, managing them sooner will bring better outcomes. Neglected hearing loss can trigger other health concerns like loss of cognitive function. Contact us to schedule a hearing test.