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 startling), cat-like pounce. It could happen like this: you wake up, drag yourself out of bed, and perhaps you don’t notice until you get out of the shower but your hearing feels…off, or different Muffled, maybe.
You just suspect that you got some water in your ears, but as the day continues, and there’s no difference, you begin to get a little worried.
It’s these moments when hearing loss seems to strike suddenly, as if out of nowhere, that it’s a smart decision to get some medical assistance. The reason why you should get help is that sudden hearing loss is often a symptom of an underlying medical issue. In some cases, that larger problem can be a blockage in your ear. Maybe some earwax.
And sometimes that sudden hearing loss can be caused by 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 produce enough insulin or can’t process the insulin it is making, this is the outcome. That’s why treatments for diabetes normally involve injections or infusions of insulin.
What Does Diabetes Have to do With Your Hearing?
Diabetes is a common, often degenerative (and complex), condition. With the help of your doctor, it needs to be managed carefully. So how is that associated with your hearing?
Believe it or not, a fairly common indicator of type 2 diabetes is sudden hearing loss. Collateral damage to other parts of the body is common with diabetes which commonly has an affect on blood vessels and nerves. These exact changes have a powerful impact on the delicate hairs in your ears responsible for your hearing (called stereocilia). So even before other more well known diabetes symptoms show up (such as numb toes), you might experience sudden hearing loss.
Is There Anything I Can Do?
You’ii want to get medical attention if your hearing has suddenly started acting up. Diabetes, for instance, will often be completely symptomless at first, so you may not even realize you have it until you start to notice some of these warning signs.
Getting help as soon as possible will give you the greatest number of options, as is the case for most types of hearing loss. But it’s not just diabetes you need to be watchful for. Sudden hearing loss could be caused by:
- Some kinds of infections.
- Blood circulation problems (these are sometimes caused by other problems, like diabetes).
- Tissue growth in the ear.
- Blood pressure problems.
- Autoimmune disorders.
- Earwax buildup or other obstructions.
Without a proper medical diagnosis, it can be challenging to figure out the cause of your sudden hearing loss and how to treat the root symptoms.
Treatment Options For Sudden Hearing Loss
Here’s the good news, whether your sudden hearing loss is brought on by diabetes or infection (or any of these other problems), successful management of the underlying cause will often return your hearing back to normal levels if you recognize it early. Once the blockage is removed or, with diabetes, once blood circulation issues have been managed, your hearing will very likely get back to normal if you dealt with it promptly.
But that really does depend on prompt and effective treatment. If they are not treated in time, some conditions, like diabetes, will bring about irreversible damage to your hearing. So it’s essential that you find medical treatment as quickly as you can, and if you’re experiencing hearing loss get that treated.
Pay Attention to Your Hearing
If you get routine hearing screenings, sudden hearing loss might be easier to detect and you might stop it from sneaking up on you by detecting it sooner. These screenings can normally uncover specific hearing problems before they become noticeable to you.
There’s one more thing that diabetes and hearing loss share, treating them sooner will bring better results. Neglected hearing loss can trigger other health concerns like loss of cognitive function. Schedule an appointment with us for a hearing assessment right away.