Audiology & Hearing Care of SWFL - Bonita Springs, FL

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

Hearing loss can catch you by surprise, it’s true. But in some cases, hearing problems bypass the sneaking completely, in favor of a sudden (and often startling), cat-like pounce. 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. Muffled, maybe.

You just suspect that you got some water in your ears, but as the day progresses, and there’s no improvement, you begin to get a bit concerned.

At times like these, when you experience a sudden drastic difference in your hearing, you should seek out medical attention. That’s because sudden hearing loss can frequently be a symptom of a bigger issue. It might be a simple matter of a blockage in your ear. Maybe some earwax.

And sometimes that sudden hearing loss can be caused by diabetes.

Diabetes – What is it?

You’d be forgiven for not instantly seeing the connections between hearing loss and diabetes. Your pancreas and your ears seem really far apart, distance-wise.

Type 2 diabetes is a condition in which your body has trouble processing sugars into energy. When your body doesn’t produce enough insulin or can’t process the insulin it is making, this is the outcome. This is why insulin injections are the most common form of diabetes treatments.

What Does Diabetes Have to do With Your Hearing?

Diabetes is a common complex affliction which can sometimes be degenerative. With the assistance of your doctor, it has to be managed carefully. But what does that have to do with your hearing?

Well, it turns out that sudden hearing loss can often be a sign that you’re experiencing type 2 diabetes. Collateral damage to other areas of the body is common with diabetes which often 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 those exact changes. So even before other more common diabetes symptoms manifest (like numb toes), you could experience sudden hearing loss.

What Should I do?

If you’re in this scenario, and your hearing has suddenly started acting up, you’ll definitely want to get examined by a medical professional. Diabetes, for instance, will frequently be entirely symptomless at first, so you might not even recognize you have it until you start to notice some of these red flags.

As is the situation with most types of hearing loss, the sooner you get treatment, the more possibilities you’ll have. But you should keep an eye out for more than just diabetes. Here are a few other possible triggers of sudden hearing loss:

  • Problems with blood circulation (sometimes caused by other issues including diabetes).
  • Infections of varied types.
  • Earwax buildup or other obstructions.
  • Tissue growth in the ear.
  • Blood pressure issues.
  • Autoimmune conditions.

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 caused by, if you identify it soon enough, your hearing will normally return to normal with proper 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 management is the key here. If they are not treated in time, some conditions, like diabetes, will bring about permanent damage to your hearing. So if you’re dealing with any type or amount of hearing loss, get it treated now.

Pay Attention to Your Hearing

If you get regular hearing screenings, sudden hearing loss may be easier to identify and you may stop it from sneaking up on you by detecting it sooner. Specific hearing issues can be identified in these screenings before you observe them.

There’s one more thing that diabetes and hearing loss share, treating them sooner will bring better results. Untreated hearing loss can trigger other health concerns like loss of cognitive function. Schedule an appointment with us for a hearing test right away.

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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.