The Link Between Hearing Loss and Diabetes

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

Hearing loss can catch you by surprise, it’s true. But there are times when hearing issues 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. Maybe muffled.

You just assume that you got some water in your ears, but as the day progresses, and there’s no difference, you begin to get a bit concerned.

At times like this, when you have a sudden severe difference in your hearing, you should get medical attention. The reason why you should get help is that sudden hearing loss is often a symptom of an underlying medical problem. It could be a simple matter of a blockage in your ear. Perhaps some earwax.

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

Diabetes – What is it?

You’d be forgiven for not immediately seeing the connections between hearing loss and diabetes. Your pancreas seems like it’s a long way from your ears.

Type 2 diabetes is a condition in which your body has difficulty breaking down sugars into energy. When your body doesn’t produce a sufficient amount of insulin or can’t process the insulin it is producing, this is the outcome. 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, sometimes degenerative (and complex), condition. It needs to be handled cautiously, normally 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 experiencing type 2 diabetes. Collateral damage to other areas of the body is common with diabetes which frequently has an affect on blood vessels and nerves. These precise changes have a powerful impact on the delicate hairs in your ears responsible for your hearing (called stereocilia). So even before other more well known diabetes symptoms appear (such as numb toes), you might experience sudden hearing loss.

Is There Anything I Can Do?

If you’re in this scenario, and your hearing has suddenly started acting up, you’ll definitely want to get examined by a medical professional. You might not even know that you have diabetes in the beginning, but these warning signs will start to clue you in.

As is the situation with most forms of hearing loss, the sooner you get treatment, the more possibilities you’ll have. But you need to watch out for more than just diabetes. Sudden hearing loss could be caused by:

  • Some types of infections.
  • Blood pressure issues.
  • Autoimmune disorders.
  • Growth of tissue in the ear.
  • Blood circulation problems (these are sometimes a result of other issues, such as diabetes).
  • Earwax buildup or other obstructions.

Without an appropriate medical diagnosis, it can be challenging to figure out the cause of your sudden hearing loss and how to treat the underlying symptoms.

Treatment Solutions For Sudden Hearing Loss

The good news here is, whether your sudden hearing loss is brought on by diabetes or infection (or any of these other issues), effective management of the underlying cause will often return your hearing back to healthy levels if you catch it early. Once the blockage is removed or, with diabetes, once blood circulation issues have been managed, your hearing will likely get back to normal if you dealt with it promptly.

But that really does rely on quick and efficient treatment. If they are not addressed in time, some conditions, like diabetes, will bring about permanent damage to your hearing. So if you’re coping with any type or degree of hearing loss, have it treated now.

Keep an Eye on Your Ears

If you get regular hearing screenings, sudden hearing loss may be easier to detect and you might stop it from sneaking up on you by catching it sooner. These screenings can normally uncover specific hearing problems before they become obvious to you.

There’s one more thing that diabetes and hearing loss have in common, treating them sooner will bring better outcomes. Other issues, including deterioration of cognitive function, can result from untreated hearing loss. Make an appointment with us for a hearing test 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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