Puretone Hearing Aid Center - Longview, Marshall, and San Antonio, TX

Woman testing her sugar to see if diabetes is affecting her hearing health.

Hearing loss can catch you by surprise, it’s true. But occasionally, hearing problems bypass the sneaking entirely, 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 maybe you don’t notice until you finish showering 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 anxious.

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 commonly a symptom of an underlying medical issue. At times, that larger problem can be a blockage in your ear. It might be just a bit of earwax.

But sudden hearing loss can also be a symptom of diabetes.

What is Diabetes?

You’d be forgiven for not immediately 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 turned into energy. This occurs because your body either isn’t generating enough insulin or it’s not responding to the insulin that you do make. This is why insulin injections are the most common form of diabetes treatments.

What Does Diabetes Have to do With Your Hearing?

Diabetes is a common complex affliction which can often be degenerative. With the assistance of your doctor, it has to be handled carefully. So how is that related to your hearing?

Believe it or not, a fairly common indicator of type 2 diabetes is sudden hearing loss. The link lies in the ability of diabetes to cause collateral damage, frequently to nerves and blood vessels around the extremities. These precise changes have a powerful impact on the little hairs in your ears responsible for your hearing (called stereocilia). So you could experience sudden hearing loss even before other, more conventional symptoms of diabetes kick in (numb toes, for instance).

Is There Anything I Can Do?

You’ii want to get medical help if your hearing has suddenly started acting up. You might not even know that you have diabetes in the beginning, but these red flags will start to clue you in.

Getting help as soon as possible will give you the greatest number of possibilities, as is the case for most types of hearing loss. But it’s not only diabetes you need to watch for. Sudden hearing loss can also be caused by:

  • Issues with your blood pressure.
  • Infections of varied types.
  • Issues with blood circulation (sometimes caused by other issues including diabetes).
  • A blockage in the ear (like an build-up of earwax).
  • Autoimmune disorders.
  • Tissue growth in the ear.

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 caused by, if you catch it early enough, your hearing will normally return to normal with correct treatment. Once the blockage is removed or, with diabetes, once blood circulation problems have been managed, your hearing will likely return to normal if you dealt with it quickly.

But quick and efficient management is the key here. If they are not treated in time, some conditions, including diabetes, will bring about permanent harm to your hearing. So if you’re dealing with any type or amount of hearing loss, get it treated now.

Keep an Eye on Your Ears

Sudden hearing loss can sneak up on you, but it may be easier to detect, and you could catch it sooner if you get regular hearing screenings. These screenings can usually detect specific hearing problems before they become obvious to you.

Diabetes and hearing loss have one other thing in common: it’s best to get them treated as soon as possible. Other issues, including deterioration of cognitive function, can result from untreated hearing loss. Make an appointment with us for a hearing assessment right away.

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The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.