It’s true, hearing loss can sneak up on you. But there are times when hearing problems suddenly pounce you like a cat instead of sneaking up on you. Here’s a hypothetical: You get up one morning and go into the shower and when you get out you notice your hearing seems off or different. Maybe muffled.
You just suspect that you got some water in your ears, but as the day progresses, and there’s no improvement, you start to get a bit worried.
It’s times like this when hearing loss seems to strike suddenly, as if out of nowhere, that it’s a good idea to get some medical assistance. The reason why you should seek help is that sudden hearing loss is usually a symptom of an underlying medical issue. Sometimes, that larger problem can be an obstruction in your ear. Maybe some earwax.
But sudden hearing loss can also be a symptom of diabetes.
Diabetes – What is it?
If you don’t instantly identify the link between hearing loss and diabetes that would be understandable. Your pancreas and your ears seem very far apart, distance-wise.
Type 2 diabetes is a condition in which your body has trouble processing sugars into energy. This happens because your body either isn’t generating enough insulin or it’s not reacting to the insulin that you do produce. 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 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. Collateral damage to other areas of the body is common with diabetes which often has an affect on blood vessels and nerves. These exact changes have a strong affect on the tiny hairs in your ears responsible for your hearing (called stereocilia). So even before other more widely recognized diabetes symptoms show up (like numb toes), you may experience sudden hearing loss.
What Should I do?
If you’re in this scenario, and your hearing has suddenly started giving you trouble, you’ll certainly want to get checked by a medical professional. Diabetes, for instance, will frequently be completely symptomless at first, so you might not even recognize you have it until you begin to observe some of these warning signs.
As is the situation with most forms of hearing loss, the sooner you seek out treatment, the more options you’ll have. But you should keep an eye out for more than just diabetes. Here are a few other possible causes of sudden hearing loss:
- Autoimmune disorders.
- Issues with blood circulation (often the consequence of other problems like diabetes).
- Earwax buildup or other obstructions.
- Blood pressure problems.
- Some kinds of infections.
- Tissue growth in the ear.
It can be hard to know what’s causing your sudden hearing loss or what you should do about it without a medical diagnosis.
Sudden Hearing Loss Treatment Options
Regardless of which of these your sudden hearing loss is triggered by, if you catch it early enough, your hearing will normally return 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 very likely return to normal if you dealt with it promptly.
But quick and effective treatment is the key here. There are some disorders that can result in irreversible harm if they go untreated (diabetes is, again, one of those conditions). So if you’re dealing with any type or degree of hearing loss, get it treated now.
Keep an Eye on Your Ears
If you get regular hearing screenings, sudden hearing loss may be easier to identify and you might stop it from sneaking up on you by detecting it sooner. Specific hearing problems can be identified in these screenings before you notice them.
There’s one more thing that diabetes and hearing loss have in common, treating them sooner will bring better outcomes. Neglected hearing loss can produce other health concerns such as loss of cognitive function. Contact us to schedule a hearing test.