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

Hearing loss can sneak up on you, it’s true. But in some cases, hearing problems bypass the sneaking entirely, in favor of a sudden (and often startling), cat-like pounce. Here’s a hypothetical: You get up one morning and jump in the shower and when you get out you notice your hearing seems off or different. Maybe muffled.

At first, you chalk it up to water in your ears, but when your hearing doesn’t improve as the day advances, you get a little more worried.

At times like these, when you have a sudden drastic change to your hearing, you should seek out medical attention. That’s because sudden hearing loss can frequently be a symptom of a larger problem. It might be a simple matter of a blockage in your ear. It may be just a bit of earwax.

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

Diabetes – What is it?

You’d be forgiven for not quickly seeing the connections between hearing loss and diabetes. Your pancreas seems like it’s a long way from your ears.

Type 2 diabetes is a condition in which your body has trouble processing sugars into energy. This happens because your body either isn’t producing enough insulin or it’s not responding to the insulin that you do produce. This is why insulin injections are the most common form of diabetes treatments.

What is The Connection Between Diabetes And Hearing?

Diabetes is a common complicated condition which can often be degenerative. With the assistance of your doctor, it has to be managed carefully. But what does that have to do with your ears?

Believe it or not, a pretty common sign of type 2 diabetes is sudden hearing loss. Collateral damage to other parts of the body is common with diabetes which frequently has an impact on blood vessels and nerves. Tiny tiny hairs in your ears (called stereocilia and in control of your ability to hear) are particularly sensitive to exactly those changes. So even before other more widely recognized diabetes symptoms show up (such as numb toes), you could experience sudden hearing loss.

Is There Anything I Can Do?

If you’re in this scenario, and your hearing has suddenly begun acting up, you’ll certainly want to get looked over by a medical professional. Diabetes, for example, will frequently be completely symptomless initially, so you might not even recognize you have it until you start to notice some of these warning signs.

Getting help as soon as possible will give you the greatest number of possibilities, as is the case for most forms of hearing loss. But you need to keep an eye out for more than just diabetes. Here are some other possible causes of sudden hearing loss:

  • Autoimmune disorders.
  • Growth of tissue in the ear.
  • A blockage in the ear (like an ear wax build-up).
  • Blood circulation problems (these are sometimes a result of other issues, such as diabetes).
  • Issues with your blood pressure.
  • Some kinds of infections.

Without a proper medical diagnosis, it can be challenging to figure out the cause of your sudden hearing loss and how to handle the root symptoms.

Sudden Hearing Loss Treatment Options

Regardless of which of these your sudden hearing loss is caused by, if you catch it early enough, your hearing will normally return 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 effective treatment. There are some disorders that can cause permanent harm if they go untreated (diabetes is, again, one of those conditions). So if you’re coping with any type or amount of hearing loss, have it treated now.

Keep an Eye on Your Ears

Sudden hearing loss catch you by surprise, but it may be easier to detect, and you might catch it sooner if you get regular hearing screenings. These screenings can normally detect specific hearing problems before they become obvious to you.

There’s one more thing that diabetes and hearing loss share, treating them sooner will bring better outcomes. Other problems, including deterioration of cognitive function, can result from neglected hearing loss. Make an appointment with us for a hearing exam 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.
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