Hearing loss can sneak up on you, it’s true. But there are times when hearing problems suddenly pounce you like a cat rather than sneaking up on you. Here’s a hypothetical: You wake up one morning and jump in the shower and when you get out you detect your hearing seems off or different. Muffled, maybe.
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.
It’s these moments when hearing loss seems to attack suddenly, as if from the shadows somewhere, that it’s a smart decision to get some medical attention. 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. Maybe some earwax.
And sometimes that sudden hearing loss can be caused by diabetes.
Diabetes – What is it?
If you don’t instantly identify the link between hearing loss and diabetes that would be understandable. Your pancreas seems pretty far away from your ears.
With type 2 diabetes, sugars in your body aren’t efficiently broken down and turned into energy. When your body doesn’t produce enough insulin or can’t process the insulin it is making, this is the outcome. That’s why treatments for diabetes usually 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 needs to be managed carefully. But what does that have to do with your ears?
Well, it turns out that sudden hearing loss can often be a sign that you’re developing type 2 diabetes. Collateral damage to other areas of the body is common with diabetes which commonly has an impact on blood vessels and nerves. These exact changes have a powerful affect on the tiny 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 kick in (numb toes, for instance).
Is There Anything I Can Do?
You’ii want to get medical help 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 seek out treatment, the more options you’ll have. But it’s not just diabetes you need to watch for. Sudden hearing loss could be caused by:
- Autoimmune diseases.
- Earwax buildup or other obstructions.
- Blood circulation problems (these are sometimes a result of other problems, like diabetes).
- Issues with your blood pressure.
- Tissue growth in the ear.
- Infections of various types.
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 caused by diabetes or infection (or any of these other issues), successful management of the underlying cause will usually bring 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 that truly does depend on prompt and efficient treatment. If they are not addressed in time, some conditions, including diabetes, will result in permanent damage to your hearing. So if you’re coping with any type or amount of hearing loss, have it treated now.
Keep an Eye on Your Ears
If you get routine hearing screenings, sudden hearing loss could be easier to detect and you might stop it from sneaking up on you by detecting it sooner. These screenings can normally 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. Other issues, like degeneration of cognitive function, can result from neglected hearing loss. Contact us to schedule a hearing test.