Hearing loss can catch you by surprise, 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.
At first, you chalk it up to water in your ears, but when your hearing doesn’t improve as the day advances, you get a little more concerned.
It’s times like this when hearing loss seems to strike suddenly, as if out of nowhere, that it’s a smart plan to seek out some medical assistance. The reason why you should seek help is that sudden hearing loss is usually a symptom of an underlying medical problem. At times, that larger problem can be a blockage in your ear. Maybe some earwax.
But sudden hearing loss can also be a sign of diabetes.
Diabetes – What is it?
If you don’t immediately identify the link between hearing loss and diabetes that would be understandable. Your pancreas seems a long way from your ears.
Type 2 diabetes is a condition in which your body has trouble breaking down sugars into energy. This happens because your body either isn’t generating enough insulin or it’s not reacting to the insulin that you do produce. This is why insulin injections are the most common form of diabetes treatments.
What is The Connection Between Diabetes And Hearing?
Diabetes is a common, sometimes degenerative (and complex), condition. With the help of your doctor, it needs to be managed cautiously. But what does that have to do with your ears?
Well, it turns out that sudden hearing loss can often be an indication that you’re developing type 2 diabetes. Collateral damage to other areas of the body is common with diabetes which often has an affect on blood vessels and nerves. These exact changes have a powerful affect on the delicate hairs in your ears responsible for your hearing (called stereocilia). So even before other more common diabetes symptoms appear (like numb toes), you might go through 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 be aware that you have diabetes in the beginning, but these red flags will begin to clue you in.
Getting help as soon as possible will give you the largest number of possibilities, as is the case for most types of hearing loss. But it’s not just diabetes you need to watch for. Here are a few other possible causes of sudden hearing loss:
- Problems with blood circulation (sometimes caused by other issues including diabetes).
- Autoimmune conditions.
- A blockage in the ear (such as an ear wax build-up).
- Infections of varied types.
- Problems with your blood pressure.
- Tissue growth in the ear.
It can be difficult to know what’s causing your sudden hearing loss or what you should do about it without a medical diagnosis.
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 normally go back to normal with correct treatment. Once the obstruction is removed or, with diabetes, once blood circulation problems have been addressed, your hearing will very likely return to normal if you addressed it promptly.
But that really does rely on quick and efficient treatment. There are some disorders that can cause permanent damage if they go untreated (diabetes is, again, one of those conditions). 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 may be easier to detect, and you might catch it sooner if you get regular hearing screenings. These screenings can usually uncover specific hearing issues before they become obvious to you.
Diabetes and hearing loss have one other thing in common: the sooner you get treatment, the better. Untreated hearing loss can lead to other health concerns like loss of cognitive function. Schedule an appointment with us for a hearing exam right away.