Hearing Loss And Diabetes, What’s The Link?

Woman testing her sugar to see if diabetes is affecting her hearing health.

It’s true, hearing loss can catch you by surprise. But there are times when hearing problems suddenly pounce you like a cat rather than sneaking up on you. It could happen like this: you wake up, drag yourself out of bed, and maybe you don’t detect it until you finish showering but your hearing feels…off, or different Maybe muffled.

Initially, you chalk it up to water in your ears, but when your hearing doesn’t improve as the day progresses, you get a bit more anxious.

It’s these moments when hearing loss seems to strike suddenly, as if from the shadows somewhere, that it’s a smart decision to get some medical attention. The reason why you should seek help is that sudden hearing loss is usually a symptom of an underlying medical issue. It might be a simple matter of a blockage in your ear. Maybe some earwax.

But sudden hearing loss can also be a sign of diabetes.

What is Diabetes?

If you don’t instantly identify the connection between hearing loss and diabetes that would be understandable. Your pancreas and your ears seem very far apart, distance-wise.

With type 2 diabetes, sugars in your body aren’t efficiently broken down and converted into energy. This happens because your body either isn’t generating enough insulin or it’s not responding to the insulin that you do make. This is why insulin injections are the most common type of diabetes treatments.

What Does Diabetes Have to do With Your Hearing?

Diabetes is a common complicated condition which can sometimes be degenerative. With the assistance of your doctor, it needs to be managed cautiously. But what does that have to do with your ears?

Believe it or not, a pretty common indicator of type 2 diabetes is sudden hearing loss. Collateral damage to other areas of the body is common with diabetes which commonly has an affect on blood vessels and nerves. Tiny tiny hairs in your ears (called stereocilia and responsible for your ability to hear) are especially sensitive to exactly those changes. So even before other more well known diabetes symptoms manifest (such as numb toes), you might experience sudden hearing loss.

Is There Anything I Can Do?

If you’re in this situation, and your hearing has suddenly begun acting up, you’ll definitely want to get examined by a medical professional. Diabetes, for example, will frequently be totally symptomless at first, so you might not even recognize you have it until you begin to observe some of these red flags.

As is the situation with most forms of hearing loss, the sooner you get treatment, the more options you’ll have. But it’s not only diabetes you need to watch for. Here are a few other possible causes of sudden hearing loss:

  • Autoimmune conditions.
  • Issues with blood circulation (sometimes caused by other problems like diabetes).
  • Infections of varied types.
  • Earwax buildup or other obstructions.
  • Growth of tissue in the ear.
  • Blood pressure issues.

It can be tough to know what’s causing your sudden hearing loss or what to do about it without a medical diagnosis.

Sudden Hearing Loss Treatment Solutions

Regardless of which of these your sudden hearing loss is caused by, if you catch it soon enough, your hearing will typically go back to normal with proper treatment. Once the obstruction is removed or, in the case of diabetes, once blood circulation problems have been addressed, your hearing will likely return to normal if you dealt with it quickly.

But that really does rely 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, 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 catching it sooner. Specific hearing problems can be detected in these screenings before you observe them.

There’s one more thing that diabetes and hearing loss share, managing them sooner will bring better outcomes. Untreated hearing loss can produce other health concerns like loss of cognitive function. Schedule an appointment with us for a hearing assessment right away.

The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.

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