Hearing loss can catch you by surprise, it’s true. But occasionally, hearing issues bypass the sneaking entirely, in favor of a sudden (and often alarming), cat-like pounce. It could happen like this: you get up, drag yourself out of bed, and maybe you don’t notice until you get out of the shower but your hearing feels…off, or different Maybe muffled.
You just assume that you got some water in your ears, but as the day progresses, and there’s no improvement, you start to get a little worried.
It’s these moments when hearing loss seems to attack suddenly, as if from the shadows somewhere, that it’s a smart idea to seek out some medical help. That’s because sudden hearing loss can frequently be a symptom of a bigger problem. It might be a simple matter of an obstruction in your ear. It could be just a bit of earwax.
And sometimes that sudden hearing loss can be caused by diabetes.
What is Diabetes?
You’d be forgiven for not immediately seeing the connections between hearing loss and diabetes. Your pancreas seems pretty far away from your ears.
Type 2 diabetes is a condition in which your body has trouble breaking down sugars into energy. When your body doesn’t produce enough insulin or can’t process the insulin it is producing, this is the outcome. That’s why treatments for diabetes normally involve injections or infusions of insulin.
What Does Diabetes Have to do With Your Hearing?
Diabetes is a common, often degenerative (and complex), condition. With the assistance of your doctor, it has 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 experiencing type 2 diabetes. The connection lies in the ability of diabetes to cause collateral damage, most often to nerves and blood vessels around the extremities. These exact changes have a strong 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.
Is There Anything I Can Do?
If you’re in this scenario, and your hearing has suddenly begun giving you trouble, you’ll definitely want to get looked at by a medical professional. You may not even be aware that you have diabetes in the beginning, but these warning signs will start to clue you in.
As is the situation with most types of hearing loss, the sooner you seek out treatment, the more possibilities you’ll have. But you should watch for more than just diabetes. Here are some other possible triggers of sudden hearing loss:
- Problems with blood circulation (sometimes the result of other problems like diabetes).
- Earwax buildup or other obstructions.
- Autoimmune diseases.
- Growth of tissue in the ear.
- Infections of various types.
- Issues with your blood pressure.
Without a proper medical diagnosis, it can be difficult to figure out the cause of your sudden hearing loss and how to treat the root symptoms.
Sudden Hearing Loss Treatment Options
Here’s the good news, 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 healthy levels if you recognize it early. Once the obstruction is removed or, in the case of diabetes, once blood circulation problems have been addressed, your hearing will very likely get back to normal if you addressed it promptly.
But quick and effective treatment is the key here. There are some conditions that can result in irreversible damage if they go untreated (diabetes is, again, one of those conditions). So it’s vital that you get 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 might be easier to identify and you may stop it from sneaking up on you by detecting it sooner. These screenings can usually uncover specific hearing issues 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 outcomes. Neglected hearing loss can result in other health concerns like loss of cognitive function. Make an appointment with us for a hearing assessment right away.