Louisville Family Audiology - Louisville, KY

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. It could happen like this: you get up, drag yourself out of bed, and maybe you don’t notice until you finish showering but your hearing feels…off, or different Muffled, maybe.

Initially, you think that you have water in your ears, but when your hearing doesn’t get any better as the day progresses, you get a bit more anxious.

It’s these moments when hearing loss seems to attack suddenly, as if out of nowhere, that it’s a good idea to get some medical attention. The reason why you should get help is that sudden hearing loss is often a symptom of an underlying medical issue. At times, that larger issue can be an obstruction in your ear. Perhaps some earwax.

And sometimes that sudden hearing loss can be related to diabetes.

Diabetes – What is it?

You’d be forgiven for not quickly seeing the links between hearing loss and diabetes. Your pancreas and your ears seem very far apart, distance-wise.

Type 2 diabetes is a condition in which your body has trouble processing sugars into energy. This happens because your body either isn’t making enough insulin or it’s not responding to the insulin that you do produce. This is why insulin injections are the most common form of diabetes treatments.

What is The Connection Between Diabetes And Hearing?

Diabetes is a common complex affliction which can sometimes be degenerative. With the assistance of your physician, it has to be managed cautiously. But what does that have to do with your ears?

Believe it or not, a fairly 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 affect on blood vessels and nerves. Tiny hairs in your ears (called stereocilia and in control of your ability to hear) are especially sensitive to exactly those changes. So even before other more well known diabetes symptoms show up (such as numb toes), you may go through sudden hearing loss.

What Should I do?

If you’re in this situation, and your hearing has suddenly started giving you trouble, you’ll certainly want to get looked at by a medical professional. Diabetes, for instance, will frequently be entirely symptomless at first, so you may not even know you have it until you start to see some of these red flags.

Seeking out help as soon as possible will give you the greatest number of options, as is the case for most types of hearing loss. But you need to watch out for more than just diabetes. Sudden hearing loss can also be caused by:

  • Some kinds of infections.
  • Earwax buildup or other obstructions.
  • Problems with blood circulation (sometimes caused by other problems such as diabetes).
  • Blood pressure issues.
  • Autoimmune conditions.
  • Growth of tissue in the ear.

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

Treatment Solutions For Sudden Hearing Loss

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

But that really does rely on prompt and effective treatment. There are some conditions that can result in permanent damage if they go untreated (diabetes is, again, one of those conditions). So if you’re dealing with any type or amount of hearing loss, get it treated now.

Keep an Eye on Your Ears

If you undergo routine hearing screenings, sudden hearing loss may be easier to detect and you may stop it from sneaking up on you by detecting it sooner. These screenings can typically detect specific hearing problems before they become noticeable to you.

There’s one more thing that diabetes and hearing loss share, treating them sooner will bring better outcomes. Other issues, including degeneration of cognitive function, can result from neglected hearing loss. Schedule an appointment with us for a hearing assessment right away.

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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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