Hearing loss can sneak up on you, it’s true. But sometimes, hearing issues bypass the sneaking entirely, in favor of a sudden (and often startling), cat-like pounce. It could happen like this: you wake up, pull 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 think that you have water in your ears, but when your hearing doesn’t improve as the day progresses, you get a little more anxious.
At times like these, when you experience a sudden severe change to your hearing, you should get medical attention. The reason why you should get help is that sudden hearing loss is usually a symptom of an underlying medical problem. It might be a simple matter of a blockage in your ear. It could 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 instantly seeing the links between hearing loss and diabetes. Your pancreas seems pretty far away from your ears.
With type 2 diabetes, sugars in your body aren’t properly broken down and converted into energy. This happens because your body either isn’t generating enough insulin or it’s not reacting to the insulin that you do make. This is why insulin injections are the most prevalent type of diabetes treatments.
What Does Diabetes Have to do With Your Hearing?
Diabetes is a common complex condition which can sometimes be degenerative. With the assistance of your doctor, it needs to be managed carefully. So how is that related to your ears?
Well, it turns out that sudden hearing loss can frequently be an indication that you’re developing type 2 diabetes. The link is based on the ability of diabetes to create collateral damage, typically to nerves and blood vessels around the extremities. Tiny tiny hairs in your ears (called stereocilia and responsible for your ability to hear) are particularly sensitive to those exact changes. So you may experience sudden hearing loss even before other, more conventional symptoms of diabetes kick in (numb toes, for example).
What Should I do?
You’ii want to get medical attention if your hearing has suddenly started giving you trouble. You may not even realize that you have diabetes at first, but these warning signs will begin to clue you in.
As is the case with most forms of hearing loss, the sooner you seek out treatment, the more possibilities you’ll have. But it’s not only diabetes you need to be watchful for. Sudden hearing loss can also be caused by:
- Some types of infections.
- Autoimmune diseases.
- Earwax buildup or other obstructions.
- Problems with your blood pressure.
- Growth of tissue in the ear.
- Problems with blood circulation (sometimes caused by other problems including diabetes).
Without a proper medical diagnosis, it can be challenging to figure out what’s causing your sudden hearing loss and how to handle the root symptoms.
Sudden Hearing Loss Treatment Solutions
Regardless of which of these your sudden hearing loss is caused by, if you identify it early enough, your hearing will typically go back to normal with proper treatment. 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 quick and effective treatment is the key here. If they are not treated in time, some conditions, including diabetes, will lead to irreversible damage to your hearing. So if you’re dealing with any type or amount of hearing loss, have it treated now.
Pay Attention to Your Hearing
Sudden hearing loss catch you by surprise, but it may be easier to detect, and you could catch it sooner if you get regular hearing screenings. Specific hearing problems can be detected in these screenings before you notice them.
There’s one more thing that diabetes and hearing loss have in common, treating them sooner will bring better results. Neglected hearing loss can lead to other health concerns such as loss of cognitive function. Schedule an appointment with us for a hearing exam right away.