Hearing loss can catch you by surprise, it’s true. But in some cases, hearing issues bypass the sneaking entirely, in favor of a sudden (and often startling), cat-like pounce. It could happen like this: you get up, drag yourself out of bed, and maybe 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 difference, you start to get a little concerned.
At times like these, when you have a sudden severe change to your hearing, you should seek medical attention. The reason why you should seek help is that sudden hearing loss is commonly a symptom of an underlying medical problem. It could be a simple matter of an obstruction in your ear. It might be just a bit of earwax.
But sudden hearing loss can also be a sign of diabetes.
Diabetes – What is it?
You’d be forgiven for not instantly seeing the connections between hearing loss and diabetes. Your pancreas seems pretty far away from your ears.
With type 2 diabetes, sugars in your body aren’t properly broken down and converted into energy. When your body doesn’t produce a sufficient amount of insulin or can’t process the insulin it is making, this is the result. That’s why treatments for diabetes usually involve injections or infusions of insulin.
What Does Diabetes Have to do With Your Hearing?
Diabetes is a common, sometimes degenerative (and complicated), affliction. With the help of your doctor, it needs to be handled carefully. So how is that associated with your ears?
Believe it or not, a fairly common indicator of type 2 diabetes is sudden hearing loss. Collateral damage to other areas of the body is common with diabetes which commonly has an affect on blood vessels and nerves. Tiny tiny hairs in your ears (called stereocilia and responsible for your ability to hear) are particularly sensitive to exactly those changes. So even before other more well known diabetes symptoms show up (such as numb toes), you might experience sudden hearing loss.
What Should I do?
You’ii want to get medical help if your hearing has suddenly started giving you trouble. You might not even realize 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 largest number of options, as is the situation 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:
- Blood circulation issues (these are often a result of other issues, like diabetes).
- Earwax buildup or other obstructions.
- Growth of tissue in the ear.
- Autoimmune disorders.
- Issues with your blood pressure.
- Some types of infections.
Without an appropriate medical diagnosis, it can be difficult to figure out what’s causing your sudden hearing loss and how to handle the underlying symptoms.
Treatment Options For Sudden Hearing Loss
Regardless of which of these your sudden hearing loss is triggered by, if you identify it soon enough, your hearing will normally go back to normal with correct treatment. Once the obstruction is removed or, in the case of diabetes, once blood circulation problems have been managed, your hearing will likely get back to normal if you dealt with it quickly.
But that really does rely on quick and efficient treatment. 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 degree of hearing loss, have it treated now.
Keep an Eye on Your Ears
Sudden hearing loss catch you by surprise, but it may be easier to detect, and you could catch it sooner if you undergo regular hearing screenings. These screenings can typically detect specific hearing issues 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 outcomes. Neglected hearing loss can trigger other health concerns like loss of cognitive function. Give us a call to schedule a hearing test.