Hearing Loss And Diabetes, What’s The Link?

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

Hearing loss can sneak up on you, it’s true. But there are times when hearing issues suddenly pounce you like a cat rather than sneaking up on you. It could happen like this: you wake up, pull yourself out of bed, and perhaps you don’t detect it until you finish showering but your hearing feels…off, or different Maybe muffled.

At first, you think that you have water in your ears, but when your hearing doesn’t get any better as the day progresses, you get a little more concerned.

At times like these, when you experience a sudden drastic change to your hearing, you should get medical attention. The reason why you should seek help is that sudden hearing loss is usually a symptom of an underlying medical issue. At times, that larger issue can be an obstruction 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?

If you don’t instantly identify the connection 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 difficulty breaking down sugars into energy. When your body doesn’t make enough insulin or can’t process the insulin it is producing, this is the outcome. This is why insulin injections are the most prevalent form of diabetes treatments.

What is The Link Between Diabetes And Hearing?

Diabetes is a common, sometimes degenerative (and complicated), condition. With the help of your doctor, it needs to be handled cautiously. But what does that have to do with your hearing?

Believe it or not, a pretty common indicator of type 2 diabetes is sudden hearing loss. The connection lies in the ability of diabetes to create collateral damage, typically to nerves and blood vessels around the extremities. These exact changes have a powerful affect on the tiny 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 appear (numb toes, for instance).

What Should I do?

You’ii want to get medical help if your hearing has suddenly started giving you trouble. Diabetes, for example, will often be totally symptomless initially, so you might not even realize you have it until you begin to notice some of these warning signs.

As is the case with most forms 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 a few other possible triggers of sudden hearing loss:

  • Earwax buildup or other obstructions.
  • Autoimmune conditions.
  • Some kinds of infections.
  • Issues with your blood pressure.
  • Tissue growth in the ear.
  • Problems with blood circulation (often the result of other issues including diabetes).

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 Solutions

Regardless of which of these your sudden hearing loss is caused by, if you identify it early enough, your hearing will typically go back to normal with proper treatment. Once the blockage is removed or, with diabetes, once blood circulation issues have been addressed, your hearing will most likely return to normal if you dealt with it promptly.

But that truly does rely on prompt and effective treatment. There are some conditions that can cause permanent damage if they go untreated (diabetes is, again, one of those conditions). So it’s vital that you seek out medical treatment as quickly as you can, and if you’re suffering from hearing loss get that treated.

Pay Attention to Your Hearing

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 catching it sooner. These screenings can usually detect specific hearing issues before they become noticeable to you.

There’s one more thing that diabetes and hearing loss have in common, treating them sooner will bring better results. Other issues, like deterioration of cognitive function, can result from neglected hearing loss. 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.

Questions? Talk To Us.