It’s true, hearing loss can sneak up on you. But sometimes, hearing issues bypass the sneaking completely, in favor of a sudden (and often alarming), cat-like pounce. 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 Maybe muffled.
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 little more worried.
It’s these moments when hearing loss seems to attack suddenly, as if from the shadows somewhere, that it’s a smart plan to seek out some medical help. The reason why you should get help is that sudden hearing loss is commonly a symptom of an underlying medical problem. At times, that larger problem can be a blockage in your ear. It may be just a bit of earwax.
But sudden hearing loss can also be a symptom of 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.
With type 2 diabetes, sugars in your body aren’t properly broken down and converted into energy. This occurs because your body either isn’t making enough insulin or it’s not responding to the insulin that you do make. That’s why treatments for diabetes usually involve injections or infusions of insulin.
What Does Diabetes Have to do With Your Hearing?
Diabetes is a common complex condition which can often be degenerative. With the help of your physician, it needs to be handled cautiously. But what does that have to do with your hearing?
Believe it or not, a pretty common indicator of type 2 diabetes is sudden hearing loss. The link is based on the ability of diabetes to cause collateral damage, typically to nerves and blood vessels around the extremities. These exact changes have a strong impact on the tiny 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 looked over 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.
Seeking out help as soon as possible will give you the greatest number of options, as is the situation for most forms of hearing loss. But it’s not only diabetes you need to be watchful for. Here are some other possible causes of sudden hearing loss:
- Infections of various types.
- Tissue growth in the ear.
- Earwax buildup or other obstructions.
- Autoimmune disorders.
- Blood circulation problems (these are often caused by other issues, such as diabetes).
- Blood pressure issues.
It can be difficult 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 early enough, your hearing will normally return to normal with proper treatment. Once the obstruction is removed or, in the case of diabetes, once blood circulation issues have been managed, your hearing will likely get back to normal if you addressed it quickly.
But quick and efficient management is the key here. If they are not addressed in time, some conditions, like diabetes, will result in irreversible harm to your hearing. So if you’re dealing with any type or degree of hearing loss, have it treated now.
Keep an Eye on Your Ears
Sudden hearing loss can sneak up on you, but it might be easier to detect, and you could catch it sooner if you undergo regular hearing screenings. These screenings can typically detect specific hearing problems before they become noticeable to you.
Diabetes and hearing loss have one other thing in common: the sooner you get treatment, the better. Other problems, including degeneration of cognitive function, can result from untreated hearing loss. Schedule an appointment with us for a hearing exam right away.