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. 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. Maybe muffled.
You just suspect that you got some water in your ears, but as the day continues, and there’s no improvement, you begin to get a little worried.
At times like this, when you experience a sudden severe difference in your hearing, you should get medical help. That’s because sudden hearing loss can often be a symptom of a larger issue. In some cases, that larger issue can be an obstruction in your ear. Maybe some earwax.
But sudden hearing loss can also be a sign of diabetes.
What is Diabetes?
You’d be forgiven for not immediately seeing the links between hearing loss and diabetes. Your pancreas seems like it’s pretty far away from your ears.
Type 2 diabetes is an ailment in which your body has trouble breaking down sugars 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 is The Connection Between Diabetes And Hearing?
Diabetes is a common, often degenerative (and complex), condition. With the assistance of your doctor, it has to be handled cautiously. 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 link is based on the ability of diabetes to create collateral damage, frequently to nerves and blood vessels around the extremities. Tiny tiny hairs in your ears (called stereocilia and in control of your ability to hear) are especially sensitive to those exact changes. So even before other more well known diabetes symptoms show up (such as numb toes), you could go through sudden hearing loss.
What Should I do?
You’ii want to get medical help if your hearing has suddenly started giving you trouble. You may not even know that you have diabetes at first, but these warning signs will start to clue you in.
As is the case with most forms of hearing loss, the sooner you find treatment, the more options you’ll have. But it’s not just diabetes you need to be watchful for. Sudden hearing loss can also be caused by:
- Blood circulation problems (these are sometimes caused by other problems, like diabetes).
- Autoimmune diseases.
- Tissue growth in the ear.
- Infections of various types.
- Blood pressure problems.
- Earwax buildup or other obstructions.
It can be hard 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
The good news here is, whether your sudden hearing loss is brought on by diabetes or infection (or any of these other problems), successful treatment of the underlying cause will often return your hearing back to normal levels if you recognize 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 quick and effective treatment is the key here. There are some disorders that can result in permanent damage if they go untreated (diabetes is, again, one of those conditions). So it’s essential that you find medical treatment as quickly as you can, and if you’re experiencing hearing loss get that treated.
Pay Attention to Your Hearing
If you undergo regular hearing screenings, sudden hearing loss may be easier to detect 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.
Diabetes and hearing loss have one other thing in common: the sooner you get treatment, the better. Other problems, including degeneration of cognitive function, can result from neglected hearing loss. Call us to schedule a hearing test.