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. 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 bit more concerned.
It’s times like this when hearing loss seems to strike suddenly, as if out of nowhere, that it’s a smart decision to seek out some medical help. The reason why you should get help is that sudden hearing loss is often a symptom of an underlying medical issue. Sometimes, that larger problem can be a blockage in your ear. Maybe some earwax.
And sometimes that sudden hearing loss can be related to diabetes.
Diabetes – What is it?
You’d be forgiven for not instantly seeing the links between hearing loss and diabetes. Your pancreas and your ears seem very far apart, distance-wise.
Type 2 diabetes is an ailment in which your body has trouble processing sugars into energy. This occurs because your body either isn’t generating enough insulin or it’s not reacting to the insulin that you do make. 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. With the assistance of your doctor, it needs to be managed carefully. So how is that related to your hearing?
Well, it turns out that sudden hearing loss can often be an indication that you’re experiencing type 2 diabetes. The link lies in the ability of diabetes to cause collateral damage, most often to nerves and blood vessels around the extremities. These exact changes have a strong impact on the little hairs in your ears responsible for your hearing (called stereocilia). So you might suffer sudden hearing loss even before other, more traditional symptoms of diabetes kick in (numb toes, for instance).
Is There Anything I Can Do?
If you’re in this situation, 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 entirely symptomless at first, so you might not even realize you have it until you begin to see some of these red flags.
Seeking out help as soon as possible will give you the largest number of possibilities, as is the case for most forms of hearing loss. But it’s not just diabetes you need to be watchful for. Sudden hearing loss can also be caused by:
- Infections of various types.
- Tissue growth in the ear.
- A blockage in the ear (such as an ear wax build-up).
- Issues with your blood pressure.
- Autoimmune diseases.
- Issues with blood circulation (often the result of other issues like diabetes).
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
Regardless of which of these your sudden hearing loss is triggered by, if you catch it soon enough, your hearing will normally go back to normal with correct treatment. Once the blockage is removed or, in the case of diabetes, once blood circulation issues have been managed, your hearing will likely return to normal if you addressed it quickly.
But quick and efficient treatment is the key here. If they are not addressed in time, some conditions, including diabetes, will lead to permanent damage to your hearing. So if you’re coping with any type or amount of hearing loss, have it treated now.
Pay Attention to Your Hearing
Sudden hearing loss catch you by surprise, but it might be easier to detect, and you could catch it sooner if you undergo regular hearing screenings. These screenings can typically uncover specific hearing problems before they become obvious to you.
There’s one more thing that diabetes and hearing loss share, treating them sooner will bring better outcomes. Other issues, like degeneration of cognitive function, can result from untreated hearing loss. Schedule an appointment with us for a hearing assessment right away.