Hearing loss can sneak up on you, it’s true. But in some cases, hearing issues bypass the sneaking entirely, in favor of a sudden (and often startling), cat-like pounce. Here’s a hypothetical: You get up one morning and jump in the shower and when you get out you notice your hearing seems off or different. Maybe muffled.
Initially, you think that you have water in your ears, but when your hearing doesn’t improve as the day advances, you get a bit more concerned.
It’s times like this when hearing loss seems to attack suddenly, as if out of nowhere, that it’s a smart plan to get some medical attention. That’s because sudden hearing loss can frequently be a symptom of a larger problem. It might be a simple matter of a blockage in your ear. Maybe some earwax.
But sudden hearing loss can also be a symptom of diabetes.
Diabetes – What is it?
You’d be forgiven for not quickly seeing the connections between hearing loss and diabetes. Your ears and your pancreas seem really 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 a sufficient amount of insulin or can’t process the insulin it is making, this is the result. That’s why treatments for diabetes normally entail injections or infusions of insulin.
What Does Diabetes Have to do With Your Hearing?
Diabetes is a common complicated affliction which can often be degenerative. It needs to be managed carefully, normally with the help of your physician. So how is that associated with your hearing?
Well, it turns out that sudden hearing loss can frequently be a sign that you’re developing type 2 diabetes. Collateral damage to other areas of the body is common with diabetes which frequently has an impact on blood vessels and nerves. Tiny tiny hairs in your ears (called stereocilia and in control of your ability to hear) are particularly sensitive to those exact changes. So you may suffer sudden hearing loss even before other, more conventional symptoms of diabetes kick in (numb toes, for example).
Is There Anything I Can Do?
If you’re in this situation, and your hearing has suddenly started giving you trouble, you’ll definitely want to get checked by a medical professional. You might not even realize that you have diabetes at first, but these warning signs will begin to clue you in.
As is the case with most forms of hearing loss, the sooner you seek out treatment, the more options you’ll have. But it’s not only diabetes you need to be watchful for. Here are a few other possible triggers of sudden hearing loss:
- Growth of tissue in the ear.
- Issues with blood circulation (sometimes caused by other problems including diabetes).
- Blood pressure issues.
- Earwax buildup or other obstructions.
- Autoimmune diseases.
- Some kinds of infections.
It can be tough 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 related to diabetes or infection (or any of these other issues), effective treatment of the underlying cause will usually return your hearing back to normal levels if you catch it early. Once the obstruction is removed or, with diabetes, once blood circulation issues have been addressed, your hearing will very likely return to normal if you dealt with it promptly.
But quick and efficient treatment is the key here. If they are not treated in time, some conditions, including diabetes, will lead to permanent damage to your hearing. So it’s vital that you get medical treatment as quickly as possible, and if you’re suffering from hearing loss get that treated.
Pay Attention to Your Hearing
If you undergo routine hearing screenings, sudden hearing loss may be easier to identify and you may stop it from sneaking up on you by detecting it sooner. These screenings can usually detect specific hearing problems before they become obvious to you.
There’s one more thing that diabetes and hearing loss have in common, treating them sooner will bring better results. Other problems, including degeneration of cognitive function, can result from neglected hearing loss. Give us a call to schedule a hearing test.