Hearing loss can sneak up on you, it’s true. But sometimes, hearing issues bypass the sneaking completely, in favor of a sudden (and often startling), cat-like pounce. Here’s a hypothetical: You get up one morning and jump in the shower and when you get out you detect your hearing seems off or different. Maybe muffled.
At first, you think that you have water in your ears, but when your hearing doesn’t improve as the day advances, you get a little more worried.
It’s times like this when hearing loss seems to attack suddenly, as if from the shadows somewhere, that it’s a smart plan to seek out some medical attention. The reason why you should get help is that sudden hearing loss is commonly a symptom of an underlying medical problem. Sometimes, that larger problem can be an obstruction in your ear. It may be just a bit of earwax.
But sudden hearing loss can also be a sign of diabetes.
Diabetes – What is it?
If you don’t immediately recognize the connection between hearing loss and diabetes that would be understandable. Your pancreas seems like it’s a long way from your ears.
With type 2 diabetes, sugars in your body aren’t efficiently broken down and converted into energy. When your body doesn’t generate a sufficient amount of insulin or can’t process the insulin it is producing, this is the result. This is why insulin injections are the most common form of diabetes treatments.
What Does Diabetes Have to do With Your Hearing?
Diabetes is a common complex affliction which can sometimes be degenerative. It needs to be handled carefully, normally with the help of your doctor. So how is that associated with 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, most often 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 exactly those changes. So even before other more common diabetes symptoms appear (such as numb toes), you could go through sudden hearing loss.
What Should I do?
If you’re in this scenario, and your hearing has suddenly begun acting up, you’ll definitely want to get examined by a medical professional. Diabetes, for instance, will often be completely symptomless at first, so you might not even realize you have it until you begin to see some of these red flags.
As is the case with most forms of hearing loss, the sooner you find treatment, the more options you’ll have. But it’s not just diabetes you need to watch for. Here are some other possible causes of sudden hearing loss:
- An obstruction in the ear (like an build-up of earwax).
- Tissue growth in the ear.
- Issues with blood circulation (often caused by other issues such as diabetes).
- Issues with your blood pressure.
- Autoimmune disorders.
- Infections of varied types.
Without a proper medical diagnosis, it can be challenging to figure out the cause of your sudden hearing loss and how to address the root symptoms.
Treatment Solutions For Sudden Hearing Loss
The good news here is, whether your sudden hearing loss is related to diabetes or infection (or any of these other issues), successful treatment of the underlying cause will usually bring your hearing back to healthy 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 really does depend on quick and effective treatment. There are some conditions that can result in irreversible damage if they go untreated (diabetes is, again, one of those conditions). So it’s vital that you find medical treatment as quickly as possible, and if you’re suffering from hearing loss get that treated.
Keep an Eye on Your Ears
Sudden hearing loss catch you by surprise, but it may be easier to detect, and you could catch it sooner if you undergo regular hearing screenings. These screenings can normally uncover specific hearing issues before they become noticeable to you.
There’s one more thing that diabetes and hearing loss have in common, managing them sooner will bring better outcomes. Untreated hearing loss can produce other health concerns like loss of cognitive function. Make an appointment with us for a hearing exam right away.