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 in some cases, hearing problems bypass the sneaking altogether, in favor of a sudden (and often startling), cat-like pounce. Here’s a hypothetical: You wake up one morning and jump in the shower and when you get out you notice your hearing seems off or different. Muffled, maybe.

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 worried.

At times like these, when you have a sudden profound change to your hearing, you should seek medical help. The reason why you should get help is that sudden hearing loss is usually a symptom of an underlying medical issue. It could be a simple matter of a blockage 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 immediately recognize the link between hearing loss and diabetes that would be understandable. Your pancreas seems a long way from your ears.

Type 2 diabetes is an ailment in which your body has difficulty processing sugars into energy. When your body doesn’t make enough insulin or can’t process the insulin it is producing, this is the result. That’s why treatments for diabetes usually entail injections or infusions of insulin.

What is The Connection Between Diabetes And Hearing?

Diabetes is a common complicated affliction which can sometimes be degenerative. With the help of your physician, it has to be managed carefully. So how is that related to your ears?

Believe it or not, a pretty common sign of type 2 diabetes is sudden hearing loss. Collateral damage to other areas of the body is common with diabetes which often has an impact on blood vessels and nerves. Tiny hairs in your ears (called stereocilia and responsible for your ability to hear) are especially 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 instance).

Is There Anything I Can Do?

If you’re in this scenario, and your hearing has suddenly started acting up, you’ll certainly want to get checked by a medical professional. Diabetes, for instance, will frequently be completely symptomless initially, so you might not even recognize you have it until you begin to notice some of these red flags.

Seeking out help as soon as possible will give you the greatest number of possibilities, as is the case for most forms of hearing loss. But it’s not only diabetes you need to watch for. Sudden hearing loss can also be caused by:

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

Without a proper medical diagnosis, it can be challenging to figure out the cause of your sudden hearing loss and how to manage the root symptoms.

Sudden Hearing Loss Treatment Solutions

The good news here is, whether your sudden hearing loss is related to diabetes or infection (or any of these other issues), effective management of the underlying cause will usually return your hearing back to healthy levels if you recognize it early. Once the obstruction is removed or, with diabetes, once blood circulation issues have been addressed, your hearing will very likely get back to normal if you addressed it quickly.

But that truly does rely on prompt and effective treatment. If they are not treated in time, some conditions, like diabetes, will result in 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

If you get regular hearing screenings, sudden hearing loss could be easier to detect and you might stop it from sneaking up on you by detecting it sooner. Specific hearing issues can be detected in these screenings before you observe them.

Hearing loss and diabetes have one other thing in common: it’s best to get them treated as soon as possible. Neglected hearing loss can trigger other health concerns like loss of cognitive function. Call us to schedule a hearing test.

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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