Hearing Loss And Diabetes, What’s The Link?

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

It’s true, hearing loss can catch you by surprise. But sometimes, hearing problems bypass the sneaking entirely, in favor of a sudden (and often alarming), 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. Maybe muffled.

Initially, you chalk it up to water in your ears, but when your hearing doesn’t improve as the day advances, you get a bit more concerned.

At times like these, when you experience a sudden severe difference in your hearing, you should get medical help. The reason why you should seek help is that sudden hearing loss is commonly a symptom of an underlying medical issue. In some cases, that larger issue can be a blockage in your ear. It could be just a bit of earwax.

But sudden hearing loss can also be a sign of diabetes.

What is Diabetes?

If you don’t immediately identify the link between hearing loss and diabetes that would be understandable. Your pancreas seems pretty far away from your ears.

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 make. 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 complicated affliction which can often be degenerative. It needs to be managed carefully, normally with the help of your physician. But what does that have to do with your hearing?

Well, it turns out that sudden hearing loss can frequently be a sign that you’re developing type 2 diabetes. The link is based on the ability of diabetes to cause collateral damage, frequently to nerves and blood vessels around the extremities. Tiny hairs in your ears (called stereocilia and in control of your ability to hear) are especially sensitive to exactly those changes. So even before other more well known diabetes symptoms appear (such as numb toes), you could go through sudden hearing loss.

What Should I do?

You’ii want to get medical help if your hearing has suddenly started acting up. Diabetes, for instance, will frequently be entirely symptomless at first, so you might not even know you have it until you begin to observe some of these red flags.

Seeking out help as soon as possible will give you the greatest number of possibilities, as is the case for most types 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 diseases.
  • Some types of infections.
  • Problems with your blood pressure.
  • Earwax buildup or other obstructions.
  • Tissue growth in the ear.
  • Blood circulation issues (these are often a result of other issues, like diabetes).

Without an appropriate medical diagnosis, it can be challenging to figure out the cause of your sudden hearing loss and how to treat the root symptoms.

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 usually go back 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 that really does depend on prompt and efficient treatment. If they are not addressed in time, some conditions, like diabetes, will result in permanent damage to your hearing. So it’s essential that you find medical treatment as quickly as you can, and if you’re experiencing hearing loss get that treated.

Pay Attention to Your Hearing

If you undergo regular hearing screenings, sudden hearing loss might be easier to detect and you might stop it from sneaking up on you by catching it sooner. Specific hearing issues can be detected in these screenings before you notice them.

Hearing loss and diabetes have one other thing in common: the sooner you get treatment, the better. Neglected hearing loss can trigger other health concerns like loss of cognitive function. Make an appointment with us for a hearing test right away.

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.


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