It’s true, hearing loss can catch you by surprise. But sometimes, hearing issues bypass the sneaking completely, in favor of a sudden (and often alarming), cat-like pounce. Here’s a hypothetical: You wake up one morning and go into the shower and when you get out you detect 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 get any better as the day advances, you get a bit more worried.
It’s these moments when hearing loss seems to attack suddenly, as if from the shadows somewhere, that it’s a good idea to seek out some medical assistance. That’s because sudden hearing loss can often be a symptom of a larger problem. Sometimes, that larger problem can be an obstruction in your ear. It might be just a bit of earwax.
But sudden hearing loss can also be a sign of diabetes.
Diabetes – What is it?
You’d be forgiven for not quickly seeing the connections between hearing loss and diabetes. Your pancreas and your ears seem very far apart, distance-wise.
With type 2 diabetes, sugars in your body aren’t properly broken down and converted into energy. When your body doesn’t produce enough insulin or can’t process the insulin it is producing, 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 complex condition which can sometimes be degenerative. With the help of your physician, it has to be handled carefully. But what does that have to do with your ears?
Believe it or not, a fairly common sign of type 2 diabetes is sudden hearing loss. The connection lies in the ability of diabetes to create collateral damage, frequently to nerves and blood vessels around the extremities. These precise changes have a powerful affect on the little hairs in your ears responsible for your hearing (called stereocilia). So you may suffer sudden hearing loss even before other, more traditional symptoms of diabetes kick in (numb toes, for instance).
Is There Anything I Can Do?
You’ii want to get medical attention if your hearing has suddenly started giving you trouble. Diabetes, for instance, will frequently be completely symptomless initially, so you might not even realize you have it until you begin to observe some of these red flags.
As is the case with most forms 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. Sudden hearing loss could be caused by:
- Autoimmune diseases.
- Issues with your blood pressure.
- Blood circulation issues (these are often caused by other problems, like diabetes).
- Some kinds of infections.
- Tissue growth in the ear.
- An obstruction in the ear (such as an build-up of earwax).
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 Options For Sudden Hearing Loss
Regardless of which of these your sudden hearing loss is caused by, if you identify it early enough, your hearing will typically 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 quick and effective treatment. There are some conditions that can result in permanent harm if they go neglected (diabetes is, again, one of those conditions). So if you’re coping with any type or degree of hearing loss, get it treated now.
Keep an Eye on Your Ears
Sudden hearing loss can sneak up on you, but it might be easier to detect, and you might catch it sooner if you undergo regular hearing screenings. These screenings can typically detect specific hearing issues before they become obvious to you.
Hearing loss and diabetes have one other thing in common: the sooner you get treatment, the better. Other issues, including degeneration of cognitive function, can result from untreated hearing loss. Schedule an appointment with us for a hearing assessment right away.