Audio Life Hearing Center- Knoxville, TN

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

Hearing loss can sneak up on you, it’s true. But there are times when hearing issues suddenly pounce you like a cat instead of sneaking up on you. It could happen like this: you get up, pull yourself out of bed, and maybe you don’t detect it until you finish showering but your hearing feels…off, or different Muffled, maybe.

You just suspect that you got some water in your ears, but as the day continues, and there’s no improvement, you start to get a bit concerned.

At times like these, when you experience a sudden severe change to your hearing, you should seek 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 caused by diabetes.

What is Diabetes?

If you don’t immediately identify the link between hearing loss and diabetes that would be understandable. Your pancreas seems pretty far away from your ears.

Type 2 diabetes is an ailment in which your body has trouble breaking down 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. That’s why treatments for diabetes usually involve injections or infusions of insulin.

What is The Link Between Diabetes And Hearing?

Diabetes is a common, sometimes degenerative (and complicated), affliction. With the assistance of your doctor, it has to be handled carefully. But what does that have to do with your ears?

Believe it or not, a fairly common indicator of type 2 diabetes is sudden hearing loss. 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 in control of your ability to hear) are particularly sensitive to those exact changes. So even before other more well known diabetes symptoms appear (like numb toes), you could experience sudden hearing loss.

Is There Anything I Can Do?

If you’re in this situation, and your hearing has suddenly begun giving you trouble, you’ll definitely want to get examined by a medical professional. You might not even be aware that you have diabetes at first, but these red flags will begin to clue you in.

As is the case with most types of hearing loss, the sooner you seek out treatment, the more options you’ll have. But it’s not just diabetes you need to watch for. Sudden hearing loss could be caused by:

  • Issues with your blood pressure.
  • Tissue growth in the ear.
  • An obstruction in the ear (like an ear wax build-up).
  • Blood circulation issues (these are sometimes caused by other issues, such as diabetes).
  • Autoimmune conditions.
  • Some kinds of infections.

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

Sudden Hearing Loss Treatment Solutions

Here’s the good news, whether your sudden hearing loss is caused by diabetes or infection (or any of these other problems), effective management of the underlying cause will usually bring your hearing back to normal 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 truly does depend on quick and effective treatment. If they are not treated in time, some conditions, like diabetes, will result in permanent damage to your hearing. So if you’re coping with any type or degree of hearing loss, have it treated now.

Pay Attention to Your Hearing

Sudden hearing loss can sneak up on you, but it may be easier to detect, and you might catch it sooner if you undergo regular hearing screenings. Specific hearing problems can be identified in these screenings before you observe them.

There’s one more thing that diabetes and hearing loss share, managing them sooner will bring better results. Neglected hearing loss can result in other health concerns like loss of cognitive function. Contact us to schedule a hearing test.

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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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