It’s true, hearing loss can sneak up on you. 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 wake up, drag yourself out of bed, and perhaps you don’t notice 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 continues, and there’s no difference, you begin to get a bit concerned.
At times like these, when you have a sudden profound change to your hearing, you should seek out medical help. The reason why you should get help is that sudden hearing loss is usually a symptom of an underlying medical issue. In some cases, that larger problem can be an obstruction 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 instantly seeing the connections between hearing loss and diabetes. Your pancreas seems a long way from your ears.
Type 2 diabetes is a condition in which your body has trouble breaking down sugars into energy. This happens because your body either isn’t generating enough insulin or it’s not reacting to the insulin that you do produce. This is why insulin injections are the most prevalent form of diabetes treatments.
What Does Diabetes Have to do With Your Hearing?
Diabetes is a common complex affliction which can often be degenerative. With the assistance of your physician, it has to be handled carefully. But what does that have to do 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 create collateral damage, frequently to nerves and blood vessels around the extremities. These exact changes have a powerful impact on the delicate hairs in your ears responsible for your hearing (called stereocilia). So you may experience sudden hearing loss even before other, more conventional symptoms of diabetes kick in (numb toes, for example).
Is There Anything I Can Do?
You’ii want to get medical attention if your hearing has suddenly started giving you trouble. You might not even know that you have diabetes in the beginning, but these warning signs will begin to clue you in.
Getting help as soon as possible will give you the greatest number of possibilities, as is the case for most forms of hearing loss. But it’s not only diabetes you need to watch for. Sudden hearing loss can also be caused by:
- A blockage in the ear (like an build-up of earwax).
- Some types of infections.
- Autoimmune conditions.
- Growth of tissue in the ear.
- Blood pressure issues.
- Problems with blood circulation (often the result of other problems such as diabetes).
Without a proper medical diagnosis, it can be challenging to figure out what’s causing your sudden hearing loss and how to manage the underlying symptoms.
Treatment Options For Sudden Hearing Loss
The good news here is, whether your sudden hearing loss is related to diabetes or infection (or any of these other issues), effective treatment of the underlying cause will usually bring your hearing back to healthy levels if you recognize it early. Once the obstruction is removed or, with diabetes, once blood circulation problems have been addressed, your hearing will very likely return to normal if you addressed it quickly.
But that really does depend on prompt and efficient treatment. There are some conditions that can cause permanent harm if they go neglected (diabetes is, again, one of those conditions). So it’s essential that you get medical treatment as quickly as possible, and if you’re experiencing hearing loss get that treated.
Keep an Eye on Your Ears
Sudden hearing loss can sneak up on you, but it might be easier to detect, and you could catch it sooner if you undergo 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, treating them sooner will bring better results. Untreated hearing loss can produce other health concerns such as loss of cognitive function. Make an appointment with us for a hearing test right away.