Hearing Loss And Diabetes, What’s The Link?

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

Hearing loss can catch you by surprise, it’s true. But there are times when hearing problems suddenly pounce you like a cat instead of sneaking up on you. 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.

Initially, you think that you have water in your ears, but when your hearing doesn’t get any better as the day advances, you get a little more worried.

At times like this, when you have a sudden severe change to your hearing, you should seek out medical help. That’s because sudden hearing loss can often be a symptom of a larger issue. It could be a simple matter of an obstruction in your ear. Maybe some earwax.

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

Diabetes – What is it?

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

Type 2 diabetes is an ailment in which your body has difficulty processing sugars into energy. This occurs because your body either isn’t making enough insulin or it’s not responding to the insulin that you do make. This is why insulin injections are the most common type of diabetes treatments.

What is The Link Between Diabetes And Hearing?

Diabetes is a common, often degenerative (and complicated), affliction. It needs to be managed carefully, in most cases with the help of your doctor. 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 create collateral damage, frequently to nerves and blood vessels around the extremities. These exact changes have a strong affect on the tiny hairs in your ears responsible for your hearing (called stereocilia). So you may suffer sudden hearing loss even before other, more conventional symptoms of diabetes appear (numb toes, for example).

Is There Anything I Can 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 may not even recognize you have it until you start to see some of these warning signs.

Seeking out help as soon as possible will give you the largest number of possibilities, as is the situation for most forms of hearing loss. But you should watch out for more than just diabetes. Sudden hearing loss could be caused by:

  • Tissue growth in the ear.
  • Issues with your blood pressure.
  • Blood circulation problems (these are sometimes a result of other issues, like diabetes).
  • Some kinds of infections.
  • Autoimmune disorders.
  • An obstruction in the ear (such as an build-up of earwax).

Without a proper medical diagnosis, it can be difficult to figure out what’s causing your sudden hearing loss and how to treat the root symptoms.

Treatment Solutions For Sudden Hearing Loss

The good news here is, whether your sudden hearing loss is caused by diabetes or infection (or any of these other issues), effective treatment of the underlying cause will usually return your hearing back to healthy levels if you recognize it early. Once the obstruction is removed or, with diabetes, once blood circulation problems have been managed, your hearing will very likely return to normal if you dealt with it promptly.

But quick and effective management is the key here. If they are not addressed in time, some conditions, like diabetes, will result in irreversible damage to your hearing. So if you’re coping with any type or amount of hearing loss, have it treated now.

Pay Attention to Your Hearing

If you undergo regular hearing screenings, sudden hearing loss could be easier to identify and you might stop it from sneaking up on you by detecting it sooner. These screenings can typically detect specific hearing problems before they become noticeable to you.

Diabetes and hearing loss have one other thing in common: the sooner you get treatment, the better. Neglected hearing loss can produce other health concerns like loss of cognitive function. Contact us to schedule a hearing test.

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.