Hearing loss can catch you by surprise, 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, drag yourself out of bed, and perhaps you don’t detect it until you get out of the shower but your hearing feels…off, or different Muffled, maybe.
At first, you chalk it up to water in your ears, but when your hearing doesn’t get any better as the day progresses, you get a bit more concerned.
It’s these moments when hearing loss seems to strike suddenly, as if out of nowhere, that it’s a good idea to get some medical attention. That’s because sudden hearing loss can frequently be a symptom of a bigger issue. It could be a simple matter of a blockage in your ear. Perhaps some earwax.
And sometimes that sudden hearing loss can be linked to diabetes.
What is Diabetes?
If you don’t instantly recognize the link between hearing loss and diabetes that would be understandable. Your pancreas seems pretty far away from your ears.
With type 2 diabetes, sugars in your body aren’t properly broken down and turned into energy. This happens because your body either isn’t generating enough insulin or it’s not responding to the insulin that you do produce. That’s why treatments for diabetes usually entail injections or infusions of insulin.
What Does Diabetes Have to do With Your Hearing?
Diabetes is a common complicated affliction which can sometimes be degenerative. With the assistance of your doctor, it has to be handled cautiously. But what does that have to do with your hearing?
Well, it turns out that sudden hearing loss can often be a sign that you’re experiencing type 2 diabetes. The connection is based on the ability of diabetes to cause collateral damage, most often 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 exactly those changes. So even before other more common diabetes symptoms show up (such as numb toes), you may experience 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 over by a medical professional. Diabetes, for instance, will often be totally symptomless initially, so you might not even realize you have it until you begin to observe some of these red flags.
As is the case with most types of hearing loss, the sooner you find treatment, the more possibilities you’ll have. But it’s not only diabetes you need to watch for. Sudden hearing loss could be caused by:
- A blockage in the ear (like an build-up of earwax).
- Autoimmune diseases.
- Tissue growth in the ear.
- Infections of various types.
- Blood circulation issues (these are sometimes caused by other problems, such as diabetes).
- Blood pressure problems.
Without a proper medical diagnosis, it can be difficult to figure out the cause of your sudden hearing loss and how to treat the underlying symptoms.
Treatment Options For Sudden Hearing Loss
Regardless of which of these your sudden hearing loss is triggered by, if you identify it soon enough, your hearing will typically go back to normal with correct treatment. Once the obstruction is removed or, with diabetes, once blood circulation problems have been addressed, your hearing will very likely return to normal if you addressed it quickly.
But quick and effective management is the key here. If they are not addressed in time, some conditions, including diabetes, will result in permanent damage to your hearing. So it’s vital that you find 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 undergo regular hearing screenings, sudden hearing loss could be easier to detect and you might stop it from sneaking up on you by detecting it sooner. Specific hearing problems can be detected in these screenings before you notice them.
There’s one more thing that diabetes and hearing loss share, managing them sooner will bring better results. Untreated hearing loss can trigger other health concerns like loss of cognitive function. Make an appointment with us for a hearing test right away.