Hearing loss can sneak up on you, it’s true. But there are times when hearing problems suddenly pounce you like a cat instead of sneaking up on you. It could happen like this: you wake up, pull yourself out of bed, and perhaps you don’t notice until you get out of the shower but your hearing feels…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 difference, you start to get a bit concerned.
At times like this, 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 usually a symptom of an underlying medical issue. It may be a simple matter of a blockage in your ear. Maybe some earwax.
But sudden hearing loss can also be a symptom of diabetes.
What is Diabetes?
If you don’t immediately identify the link between hearing loss and diabetes that would be understandable. Your pancreas and your ears seem really far apart, distance-wise.
Type 2 diabetes is a condition in which your body has difficulty processing sugars into energy. When your body doesn’t make enough insulin or can’t process the insulin it is making, this is the outcome. This is why insulin injections are the most prevalent type of diabetes treatments.
What Does Diabetes Have to do With Your Hearing?
Diabetes is a common, often degenerative (and complex), affliction. With the help of your physician, it has to be managed carefully. But what does that have to do with your ears?
Believe it or not, a pretty common indicator of type 2 diabetes is sudden hearing loss. The connection is based on the ability of diabetes to cause collateral damage, frequently to nerves and blood vessels around the extremities. Tiny tiny hairs in your ears (called stereocilia and in control of your ability to hear) are especially sensitive to those exact changes. So even before other more common diabetes symptoms manifest (like numb toes), you may go through sudden hearing loss.
Is There Anything I Can Do?
If you’re in this situation, and your hearing has suddenly started giving you trouble, you’ll definitely want to get looked at by a medical professional. Diabetes, for instance, will frequently be entirely symptomless initially, so you might not even realize you have it until you begin to notice some of these red flags.
As is the case with most types of hearing loss, the sooner you seek out treatment, the more options you’ll have. But it’s not just diabetes you need to be watchful for. Sudden hearing loss could be caused by:
- Growth of tissue in the ear.
- Some types of infections.
- An obstruction in the ear (like an ear wax build-up).
- Autoimmune diseases.
- Problems with blood circulation (sometimes the result of other problems including diabetes).
- Problems with your blood pressure.
It can be hard to know what’s causing your sudden hearing loss or what you should do about it without a medical diagnosis.
Treatment Solutions For Sudden Hearing Loss
Regardless of which of these your sudden hearing loss is triggered by, if you identify it early enough, your hearing will typically 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 harm to your hearing. So it’s vital that you seek out medical treatment as quickly as possible, and if you’re experiencing hearing loss get that treated.
Pay Attention to Your Hearing
Sudden hearing loss catch you by surprise, but it may be easier to detect, and you might catch it sooner if you undergo regular hearing screenings. Specific hearing problems can be detected in these screenings before you notice them.
There’s one more thing that diabetes and hearing loss share, managing them sooner will bring better outcomes. Other issues, like degeneration of cognitive function, can result from untreated hearing loss. Give us a call to schedule a hearing test.