It’s true, hearing loss can sneak up on you. But occasionally, hearing issues bypass the sneaking altogether, in favor of a sudden (and often startling), cat-like pounce. It could happen like this: you wake up, pull yourself out of bed, and perhaps you don’t detect it until you get out of the shower but your hearing feels…off, or different Maybe muffled.
Initially, you think that you have water in your ears, but when your hearing doesn’t improve as the day progresses, you get a little more worried.
At times like this, when you experience a sudden severe difference in your hearing, you should seek medical attention. The reason why you should get help is that sudden hearing loss is usually a symptom of an underlying medical problem. In some cases, that larger issue can be a blockage in your ear. It could be just a bit of earwax.
And sometimes that sudden hearing loss can be linked to diabetes.
Diabetes – What is it?
If you don’t instantly identify the link between hearing loss and diabetes that would be understandable. Your ears and your pancreas seem very far apart, distance-wise.
With type 2 diabetes, sugars in your body aren’t efficiently broken down and turned into energy. When your body doesn’t produce a sufficient amount of insulin or can’t process the insulin it is producing, this is the result. 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 sometimes be degenerative. With the assistance of your doctor, it has to be handled carefully. But what does that have to do with your hearing?
Well, it turns out that sudden hearing loss can often be an indication that you’re experiencing type 2 diabetes.
The link is based on the ability of diabetes to cause 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 exactly those changes. So even before other more widely recognized diabetes symptoms appear (such as numb toes), you may experience sudden hearing loss.
What Should I do?
You’ii want to get medical attention if your hearing has suddenly started acting up. You might 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 types 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 a result of other problems, like diabetes).
- Growth of tissue in the ear.
- Autoimmune conditions.
- Some kinds of infections.
- Problems with your blood pressure.
- An obstruction in the ear (such as an ear wax build-up).
It can be difficult 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 related to diabetes or infection (or any of these other issues), effective treatment of the underlying cause will usually return your hearing back to healthy levels if you catch it early. Once the obstruction is removed or, with diabetes, once blood circulation issues have been addressed, your hearing will most likely get back to normal if you dealt with it quickly.
But quick and effective treatment is the key here. There are some disorders that can cause irreversible harm if they go neglected (diabetes is, again, one of those conditions). So if you’re coping with any type or amount of hearing loss, get it treated now.
Keep an Eye on Your Ears
If you undergo regular hearing screenings, sudden hearing loss may be easier to identify and you might stop it from sneaking up on you by detecting it sooner. These screenings can usually detect specific hearing problems before they become obvious to you.
There’s one more thing that diabetes and hearing loss have in common, managing them sooner will bring better results. Untreated hearing loss can trigger other health concerns such as loss of cognitive function. Contact us to schedule a hearing test.