It’s true, hearing loss can catch you by surprise. But there are times when hearing problems suddenly pounce you like a cat instead of sneaking up on you. Here’s a hypothetical: You get up one morning and jump in the shower and when you get out you notice your hearing seems off or different. Maybe muffled.
At first, you think that you have water in your ears, but when your hearing doesn’t improve as the day advances, you get a bit more anxious.
At times like this, when you have a sudden severe change to your hearing, you should seek medical attention. The reason why you should seek help is that sudden hearing loss is commonly a symptom of an underlying medical problem. In some cases, that larger issue can be an obstruction in your ear. It could be just a bit of earwax.
And sometimes that sudden hearing loss can be related to diabetes.
What is Diabetes?
You’d be forgiven for not immediately seeing the links between hearing loss and diabetes. Your pancreas seems a long way from your ears.
With type 2 diabetes, sugars in your body aren’t efficiently broken down and converted into energy. When your body doesn’t generate a sufficient amount of insulin or can’t process the insulin it is producing, this is the outcome. That’s why treatments for diabetes normally entail injections or infusions of insulin.
What Does Diabetes Have to do With Your Hearing?
Diabetes is a common, often degenerative (and complicated), condition. It needs to be managed carefully, in most cases with the help of your doctor. So how is that associated with 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 frequently has an affect on blood vessels and nerves. These exact changes have a strong 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 instance).
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 examined by a medical professional. Diabetes, for example, will frequently be totally symptomless initially, so you may not even know you have it until you start to observe some of these red flags.
Getting help as soon as possible will give you the largest number of options, as is the case for most forms of hearing loss. But it’s not only diabetes you need to watch for. Sudden hearing loss could be caused by:
- Earwax buildup or other obstructions.
- Some kinds of infections.
- Growth of tissue in the ear.
- Autoimmune disorders.
- Issues with your blood pressure.
- Issues with blood circulation (often the consequence of other issues such as diabetes).
Without an appropriate medical diagnosis, it can be difficult to figure out the cause of your sudden hearing loss and how to address the root symptoms.
Sudden Hearing Loss Treatment Options
Regardless of which of these your sudden hearing loss is caused by, if you catch it early enough, your hearing will typically return to normal with proper treatment. Once the blockage is removed or, in the case of diabetes, once blood circulation issues have been addressed, your hearing will likely return to normal if you dealt with it quickly.
But quick and efficient management is the key here. If they are not treated in time, some conditions, including diabetes, will bring about irreversible damage to your hearing. So if you’re coping with any type or degree of hearing loss, have it treated now.
Pay Attention to Your Hearing
Sudden hearing loss catch you by surprise, but it might be easier to detect, and you might catch it sooner if you undergo regular hearing screenings. Specific hearing issues can be identified in these screenings before you notice them.
Diabetes and hearing loss have one other thing in common: it’s best to get them treated as soon as possible. Other issues, like degeneration of cognitive function, can result from untreated hearing loss. Make an appointment with us for a hearing test right away.