Hearing loss can sneak up on you, it’s true. But there are times when hearing issues suddenly pounce you like a cat instead of sneaking up on you. Here’s a hypothetical: You get up one morning and go into the shower and when you get out you detect your hearing seems 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 little concerned.
At times like this, when you have a sudden severe change to your hearing, you should seek out medical help. That’s because sudden hearing loss can often be a symptom of a bigger issue. It may be a simple matter of an obstruction in your ear. Maybe some earwax.
And sometimes that sudden hearing loss can be related to diabetes.
What is Diabetes?
If you don’t immediately recognize the link between hearing loss and diabetes that would be understandable. Your pancreas seems like it’s pretty far away from your ears.
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 producing enough insulin or it’s not responding 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. It needs to be handled cautiously, in most cases with the help of your physician. So how is that associated with your hearing?
Believe it or not, a pretty common sign of type 2 diabetes is sudden hearing loss. The connection is based on the ability of diabetes to create collateral damage, most often to nerves and blood vessels around the extremities. Tiny hairs in your ears (called stereocilia and in control of your ability to hear) are especially sensitive to those exact changes. So you might experience sudden hearing loss even before other, more traditional symptoms of diabetes appear (numb toes, for example).
What Should I do?
You’ii want to get medical help if your hearing has suddenly started acting up. You may not even know that you have diabetes in the beginning, but these red flags will begin to clue you in.
Seeking out help as soon as possible will give you the largest number of options, as is the situation for most types of hearing loss. But you should watch out for more than just diabetes. Sudden hearing loss could be caused by:
- Tissue growth in the ear.
- Blood circulation issues (these are often a result of other problems, such as diabetes).
- Issues with your blood pressure.
- Autoimmune conditions.
- Earwax buildup or other obstructions.
- Infections of varied types.
It can be tough to know what’s causing your sudden hearing loss or what you should do about it without a medical diagnosis.
Treatment Options For Sudden Hearing Loss
Regardless of which of these your sudden hearing loss is triggered by, if you catch it early enough, your hearing will normally return to normal with proper treatment. Once the blockage is removed or, with diabetes, once blood circulation issues have been managed, your hearing will very likely get back to normal if you dealt with it quickly.
But that truly does depend on prompt and efficient treatment. There are some disorders that can cause irreversible damage if they go neglected (diabetes is, again, one of those conditions). So it’s vital that you find medical treatment as quickly as possible, and if you’re suffering from hearing loss get that treated.
Pay Attention to Your Hearing
If you get routine hearing screenings, sudden hearing loss could be easier to detect and you might stop it from sneaking up on you by detecting it sooner. Specific hearing problems can be identified in these screenings before you observe them.
There’s one more thing that diabetes and hearing loss share, treating them sooner will bring better results. Other issues, like degeneration of cognitive function, can result from untreated hearing loss. Make an appointment with us for a hearing assessment right away.