Hearing loss can sneak up on you, it’s true. But there are times when hearing problems suddenly pounce you like a cat rather than sneaking up on you. It could happen like this: you get up, pull yourself out of bed, and maybe you don’t detect it until you finish showering but your hearing feels…off, or different Maybe muffled.
You just assume that you got some water in your ears, but as the day progresses, and there’s no improvement, you begin to get a little concerned.
At times like these, when you have a sudden profound difference in your hearing, you should get medical help. 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 issue can be an obstruction in your ear. It could be just a bit of earwax.
But sudden hearing loss can also be a symptom of diabetes.
What is Diabetes?
If you don’t immediately identify the connection between hearing loss and diabetes that would be understandable. Your ears and your pancreas seem really far apart, distance-wise.
With type 2 diabetes, sugars in your body aren’t efficiently broken down and turned into energy. This occurs because your body either isn’t generating enough insulin or it’s not reacting to the insulin that you do make. This is why insulin injections are the most prevalent form of diabetes treatments.
What is The Link Between Diabetes And Hearing?
Diabetes is a common complex affliction which can often be degenerative. It needs to be managed cautiously, in most cases with the help of your doctor. So how is that associated with your hearing?
Well, it turns out that sudden hearing loss can often be a sign that you’re experiencing type 2 diabetes. The link is based on 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 responsible for 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 instance).
Is There Anything I Can Do?
You’ii want to get medical help if your hearing has suddenly started acting up. Diabetes, for example, will frequently be totally symptomless at first, so you might not even recognize you have it until you start to see some of these red flags.
As is the case with most types of hearing loss, the sooner you seek out treatment, the more possibilities you’ll have. But you need to watch for more than just diabetes. Sudden hearing loss can also be caused by:
- Issues with your blood pressure.
- Infections of various types.
- Tissue growth in the ear.
- A blockage in the ear (like an ear wax build-up).
- Autoimmune diseases.
- Issues with blood circulation (sometimes the result of other issues including diabetes).
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 problems), successful treatment of the underlying cause will often bring 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 that truly does depend on prompt and effective treatment. There are some conditions that can cause permanent damage if they go neglected (diabetes is, again, one of those conditions). So if you’re coping with any type or degree of hearing loss, get it treated now.
Keep an Eye on Your Ears
If you undergo regular 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 identified in these screenings before you notice them.
Hearing loss and diabetes have one other thing in common: it’s best to get them treated as soon as possible. Other problems, including degeneration of cognitive function, can result from untreated hearing loss. Give us a call to schedule a hearing test.