Hearing loss can catch you by surprise, it’s true. But there are times when hearing issues suddenly pounce you like a cat rather than sneaking up on you. It could happen like this: you get 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 Maybe muffled.
Initially, you chalk it up to water in your ears, but when your hearing doesn’t get any better as the day advances, you get a little more anxious.
At times like these, when you have a sudden drastic difference in your hearing, you should seek medical help. That’s because sudden hearing loss can often be a symptom of a bigger problem. It may be a simple matter of an obstruction in your ear. Maybe some earwax.
And sometimes that sudden hearing loss can be caused by diabetes.
What is Diabetes?
You’d be forgiven for not immediately seeing the connections between hearing loss and diabetes. Your ears and your pancreas seem really far apart, distance-wise.
With type 2 diabetes, sugars in your body aren’t properly broken down and converted into energy. When your body doesn’t make enough insulin or can’t process the insulin it is producing, this is the outcome. This is why insulin injections are the most common form of diabetes treatments.
What Does Diabetes Have to do With Your Hearing?
Diabetes is a common, often degenerative (and complicated), affliction. With the assistance of your physician, it has to be handled cautiously. So how is that associated with your ears?
Believe it or not, a pretty common sign of type 2 diabetes is sudden hearing loss. Collateral damage to other areas of the body is common with diabetes which commonly has an impact on blood vessels and nerves. Tiny tiny hairs in your ears (called stereocilia and responsible for your ability to hear) are particularly sensitive to those exact changes. So even before other more widely recognized diabetes symptoms show up (like numb toes), you may experience sudden hearing loss.
Is There Anything I Can Do?
If you’re in this scenario, and your hearing has suddenly started giving you trouble, you’ll certainly want to get checked by a medical professional. You may not even know that you have diabetes at first, but these red flags will begin to clue you in.
Getting help as soon as possible will give you the largest number of options, as is the situation for most types of hearing loss. But it’s not just diabetes you need to be watchful for. Here are some other possible causes of sudden hearing loss:
- Earwax buildup or other obstructions.
- Growth of tissue in the ear.
- Problems with your blood pressure.
- Autoimmune diseases.
- Some types of infections.
- Blood circulation problems (these are often caused by other issues, like diabetes).
Without a proper medical diagnosis, it can be difficult to figure out what’s causing your sudden hearing loss and how to address the root symptoms.
Sudden Hearing Loss Treatment Solutions
Regardless of which of these your sudden hearing loss is caused by, if you identify it early enough, your hearing will typically go back to normal with proper treatment. 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 prompt and efficient treatment. If they are not addressed in time, some conditions, like diabetes, will lead to irreversible damage to your hearing. So it’s essential that you get medical treatment as quickly as you can, and if you’re experiencing hearing loss get that treated.
Keep an Eye on Your Ears
Sudden hearing loss catch you by surprise, but it may be easier to detect, and you could catch it sooner if you undergo regular hearing screenings. Specific hearing problems can be identified in these screenings before you observe them.
There’s one more thing that diabetes and hearing loss have in common, managing them sooner will bring better outcomes. Untreated hearing loss can produce other health concerns such as loss of cognitive function. Call us to schedule a hearing test.