Hearing loss can sneak up on you, it’s true. But in some cases, hearing issues bypass the sneaking altogether, in favor of a sudden (and often alarming), cat-like pounce. It could happen like this: you wake up, drag yourself out of bed, and perhaps you don’t notice until you finish showering but your hearing feels…off, or different Maybe muffled.
You just assume that you got some water in your ears, but as the day continues, and there’s no difference, you start to get a bit concerned.
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 get some medical attention. The reason why you should seek help is that sudden hearing loss is usually a symptom of an underlying medical issue. Sometimes, that larger issue can be an obstruction 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 identify the connection between hearing loss and diabetes that would be understandable. Your ears and your pancreas seem very far apart, distance-wise.
With type 2 diabetes, sugars in your body aren’t efficiently broken down and converted into energy. When your body doesn’t generate enough insulin or can’t process the insulin it is producing, this is the outcome. This is why insulin injections are the most prevalent form of diabetes treatments.
What Does Diabetes Have to do With Your Hearing?
Diabetes is a common complex condition which can often be degenerative. It needs to be managed cautiously, normally with the help of your doctor. But what does that have to do with your ears?
Believe it or not, a pretty common indicator of type 2 diabetes is sudden hearing loss. Collateral damage to other parts 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 responsible for your ability to hear) are particularly sensitive to those exact changes. So even before other more widely recognized diabetes symptoms appear (like numb toes), you could go through sudden hearing loss.
What Should I 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 may 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. Here are some other possible triggers of sudden hearing loss:
- Autoimmune conditions.
- Blood pressure problems.
- Infections of various types.
- Growth of tissue in the ear.
- Blood circulation problems (these are often a result of other issues, like diabetes).
- A blockage in the ear (such as an ear wax build-up).
It can be tough to know what’s causing your sudden hearing loss or what you should do about it without a medical diagnosis.
Treatment Options For Sudden Hearing Loss
The good news here is, whether your sudden hearing loss is caused by diabetes or infection (or any of these other problems), successful management of the underlying cause will usually return your hearing back to healthy levels if you catch it early. Once the obstruction is removed or, with diabetes, once blood circulation problems have been managed, your hearing will most likely get back to normal if you dealt with it promptly.
But quick and efficient treatment is the key here. There are some conditions that can result in permanent damage if they go neglected (diabetes is, again, one of those conditions). So it’s essential that you get medical treatment as quickly as you can, and if you’re suffering from hearing loss get that treated.
Pay Attention to Your Hearing
If you get routine hearing screenings, sudden hearing loss might be easier to identify and you might stop it from sneaking up on you by detecting it sooner. Specific hearing problems can be identified 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. Untreated hearing loss can trigger other health concerns like loss of cognitive function. Contact us to schedule a hearing test.