Hearing loss can catch you by surprise, it’s true. But sometimes, hearing issues bypass the sneaking completely, 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 detect it until you finish showering but your hearing feels…off, or different Maybe muffled.
You just suspect that you got some water in your ears, but as the day continues, and there’s no difference, you start 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 idea to seek out some medical help. That’s because sudden hearing loss can often be a symptom of a larger problem. It may be a simple matter of a blockage in your ear. It could 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 really far apart, distance-wise.
With type 2 diabetes, sugars in your body aren’t efficiently broken down and converted into energy. This occurs because your body either isn’t producing enough insulin or it’s not responding to the insulin that you do produce. 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 complicated affliction which can sometimes be degenerative. With the assistance of your physician, it needs to be handled cautiously. So how is that associated with your ears?
Well, it turns out that sudden hearing loss can frequently 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. These exact changes have a powerful impact on the delicate hairs in your ears responsible for your hearing (called stereocilia). So you may suffer sudden hearing loss even before other, more conventional symptoms of diabetes appear (numb toes, for example).
Is There Anything I Can Do?
You’ii want to get medical help if your hearing has suddenly started acting up. Diabetes, for instance, will frequently be completely symptomless at first, so you may not even realize you have it until you start to notice some of these warning signs.
As is the case with most types of hearing loss, the sooner you find treatment, the more options you’ll have. But it’s not just diabetes you need to be watchful for. Here are some other possible triggers of sudden hearing loss:
- A blockage in the ear (such as an ear wax build-up).
- Issues with blood circulation (often the consequence of other issues including diabetes).
- Some types of infections.
- Tissue growth in the ear.
- Autoimmune diseases.
- Issues with your blood pressure.
It can be tough to know what’s causing your sudden hearing loss or what you should do about it without a medical diagnosis.
Sudden Hearing Loss Treatment Solutions
Regardless of which of these your sudden hearing loss is caused by, if you catch it early enough, your hearing will usually return to normal with correct treatment. Once the blockage is removed or, in the case of diabetes, once blood circulation issues have been managed, your hearing will very likely get back to normal if you dealt with it quickly.
But quick and efficient treatment is the key here. If they are not addressed in time, some conditions, like diabetes, will lead to permanent harm to your hearing. So it’s vital that you find medical treatment as quickly as possible, and if you’re experiencing hearing loss get that treated.
Pay Attention to Your Hearing
Sudden hearing loss can sneak up on you, but it may be easier to detect, and you could catch it sooner if you undergo regular hearing screenings. These screenings can typically uncover specific hearing problems before they become noticeable to you.
There’s one more thing that diabetes and hearing loss have in common, managing them sooner will bring better results. Neglected hearing loss can result in other health concerns such as loss of cognitive function. Contact us to schedule a hearing test.