Hearing Loss And Diabetes, What’s The Connection?

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

It’s true, hearing loss can catch you by surprise. But there are times when hearing problems suddenly pounce you like a cat rather than sneaking up on you. It could happen like this: you wake up, drag yourself out of bed, and perhaps you don’t detect it until you finish showering 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 improvement, you start to get a little worried.

It’s times like this when hearing loss seems to strike suddenly, as if out of nowhere, that it’s a smart idea to get some medical help. The reason why you should seek help is that sudden hearing loss is commonly a symptom of an underlying medical issue. At times, that larger issue can be a blockage in your ear. It may be just a bit of earwax.

And sometimes that sudden hearing loss can be related to diabetes.

Diabetes – What is it?

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 happens because your body either isn’t generating enough insulin or it’s not responding to the insulin that you do produce. That’s why treatments for diabetes normally entail injections or infusions of insulin.

What is The Connection Between Diabetes And Hearing?

Diabetes is a common, often degenerative (and complicated), condition. It needs to be handled cautiously, normally with the help of your physician. But what does that have to do with your ears?

Believe it or not, a fairly common sign of type 2 diabetes is sudden hearing loss. Collateral damage to other areas of the body is common with diabetes which frequently has an affect on blood vessels and nerves. These exact changes have a powerful affect on the little hairs in your ears responsible for your hearing (called stereocilia). So you could experience sudden hearing loss even before other, more traditional symptoms of diabetes appear (numb toes, for instance).

What Should I do?

If you’re in this scenario, and your hearing has suddenly begun acting up, you’ll certainly want to get looked at by a medical professional. Diabetes, for example, will frequently be completely symptomless initially, so you might not even realize you have it until you begin to observe some of these warning signs.

Getting help as soon as possible will give you the greatest number of possibilities, as is the case for most forms of hearing loss. But it’s not just diabetes you need to be watchful for. Here are a few other possible causes of sudden hearing loss:

  • Autoimmune conditions.
  • Growth of tissue in the ear.
  • A blockage in the ear (such as an ear wax build-up).
  • Blood circulation problems (these are often a result of other issues, such as diabetes).
  • Blood pressure issues.
  • Some types of infections.

It can be hard to know what’s causing your sudden hearing loss or what to do about it without a medical diagnosis.

Treatment Solutions For Sudden Hearing Loss

Regardless of which of these your sudden hearing loss is caused by, if you catch it soon enough, your hearing will typically return to normal with correct treatment. If you promptly address the problem, your hearing is likely to return to normal once the blockage is removed, or in the case of diabetes, once you address the circulation problems.

But quick and effective treatment is the key here. There are some conditions that can cause irreversible harm if they go neglected (diabetes is, again, one of those conditions). So if you’re coping with any type or amount of hearing loss, get it treated now.

Pay Attention to Your Hearing

If you undergo regular hearing screenings, sudden hearing loss may be easier to detect and you may stop it from sneaking up on you by detecting it sooner. These screenings can usually detect specific hearing issues 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. Untreated hearing loss can trigger other health concerns such as loss of cognitive function. Give us a call to schedule a hearing test.

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.