Hearing loss can sneak up on you, it’s true. But in some cases, hearing issues bypass the sneaking altogether, in favor of a sudden (and often alarming), cat-like pounce. It could happen like this: you wake up, drag yourself out of bed, and maybe you don’t notice until you finish showering but your hearing feels…off, or different Muffled, maybe.
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 little more concerned.
It’s these moments when hearing loss seems to strike suddenly, as if out of nowhere, that it’s a smart decision to seek out some medical attention. The reason why you should get help is that sudden hearing loss is commonly a symptom of an underlying medical problem. At times, that larger problem can be a blockage in your ear. It might be just a bit of earwax.
But sudden hearing loss can also be a sign of diabetes.
What is Diabetes?
You’d be forgiven for not quickly seeing the connections between hearing loss and diabetes. Your ears and your pancreas seem very far apart, distance-wise.
With type 2 diabetes, sugars in your body aren’t properly broken down and turned into energy. This occurs because your body either isn’t making enough insulin or it’s not reacting to the insulin that you do make. This is why insulin injections are the most prevalent form of diabetes treatments.
What is The Link Between Diabetes And Hearing?
Diabetes is a common, sometimes degenerative (and complex), condition. It needs to be handled cautiously, usually with the help of your doctor. 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. The link is based on 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 you might suffer sudden hearing loss even before other, more traditional symptoms of diabetes appear (numb toes, for example).
What Should I do?
You’ii want to get medical help if your hearing has suddenly started acting up. You might 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 options you’ll have. But it’s not only diabetes you need to watch for. Here are a few other possible triggers of sudden hearing loss:
- Infections of various types.
- Issues with your blood pressure.
- An obstruction in the ear (like an ear wax build-up).
- Problems with blood circulation (sometimes the consequence of other problems such as diabetes).
- Autoimmune disorders.
- Growth of tissue in the ear.
Without a proper medical diagnosis, it can be difficult to figure out what’s causing your sudden hearing loss and how to address the underlying symptoms.
Treatment Solutions For Sudden Hearing Loss
Here’s the good news, whether your sudden hearing loss is caused by diabetes or infection (or any of these other problems), successful management of the underlying cause will usually return your hearing back to normal levels if you recognize it early. Once the obstruction is removed or, in the case of diabetes, once blood circulation issues have been addressed, your hearing will very likely get back to normal if you addressed it promptly.
But that truly does rely on prompt and efficient treatment. If they are not treated in time, some conditions, including diabetes, will result in irreversible damage to your hearing. So it’s essential 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
Sudden hearing loss catch you by surprise, but it may be easier to detect, and you might catch it sooner if you undergo regular hearing screenings. These screenings can normally detect specific hearing problems before they become noticeable to you.
There’s one more thing that diabetes and hearing loss have in common, treating them sooner will bring better outcomes. Neglected hearing loss can lead to other health concerns such as loss of cognitive function. Make an appointment with us for a hearing assessment right away.