It’s true, hearing loss can sneak up on you. But in some cases, hearing issues bypass the sneaking completely, 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 detect it until you get out of the shower but your hearing feels…off, or different Muffled, maybe.
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 bit concerned.
At times like this, when you experience a sudden severe change to your hearing, you should get medical attention. The reason why you should get help is that sudden hearing loss is usually a symptom of an underlying medical problem. Sometimes, that larger issue can be a blockage in your ear. Perhaps some earwax.
And sometimes that sudden hearing loss can be related to diabetes.
What is Diabetes?
You’d be forgiven for not immediately seeing the connections between hearing loss and diabetes. Your pancreas and your ears seem really far apart, distance-wise.
With type 2 diabetes, sugars in your body aren’t properly broken down and turned into energy. This occurs because your body either isn’t making enough insulin or it’s not reacting to the insulin that you do make. That’s why treatments for diabetes usually entail injections or infusions of insulin.
What Does Diabetes Have to do With Your Hearing?
Diabetes is a common complicated affliction which can sometimes be degenerative. With the assistance of your physician, it needs to be handled carefully. So how is that related to your ears?
Well, it turns out that sudden hearing loss can frequently be a sign that you’re developing type 2 diabetes. Collateral damage to other parts of the body is common with diabetes which often has an impact on blood vessels and nerves. Tiny tiny hairs in your ears (called stereocilia and in control of your ability to hear) are especially sensitive to exactly those changes. So even before other more widely recognized diabetes symptoms appear (such as numb toes), you could go through sudden hearing loss.
Is There Anything I Can Do?
You’ii want to get medical help if your hearing has suddenly started acting up. Diabetes, for instance, will frequently be completely symptomless at first, so you may not even realize you have it until you begin to notice some of these red flags.
As is the case with most forms of hearing loss, the sooner you seek out treatment, the more options you’ll have. But you should keep an eye out for more than just diabetes. Sudden hearing loss could be caused by:
- Problems with blood circulation (sometimes caused by other problems such as diabetes).
- Some types of infections.
- Issues with your blood pressure.
- Earwax buildup or other obstructions.
- Growth of tissue in the ear.
- Autoimmune disorders.
Without a proper medical diagnosis, it can be difficult 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), successful management of the underlying cause will often bring your hearing back to healthy 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 rely on quick and effective treatment. There are some conditions that can result in irreversible damage if they go neglected (diabetes is, again, one of those conditions). So if you’re dealing with any type or amount of hearing loss, get it treated now.
Pay Attention to Your Hearing
If you get regular hearing screenings, sudden hearing loss may be easier to identify and you might stop it from sneaking up on you by catching it sooner. Specific hearing issues can be detected in these screenings before you observe them.
Hearing loss and diabetes have one other thing in common: the sooner you get treatment, the better. Neglected hearing loss can lead to other health concerns such as loss of cognitive function. Make an appointment with us for a hearing exam right away.