It’s true, hearing loss can catch you by surprise. But sometimes, hearing problems bypass the sneaking completely, 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 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 progresses, you get a little more worried.
It’s times like this when hearing loss seems to attack suddenly, as if out of nowhere, that it’s a smart plan to get some medical assistance. The reason why you should seek help is that sudden hearing loss is often a symptom of an underlying medical problem. In some cases, that larger issue 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.
What is Diabetes?
You’d be forgiven for not immediately seeing the links between hearing loss and diabetes. Your pancreas and your ears seem really far apart, distance-wise.
With type 2 diabetes, sugars in your body aren’t efficiently broken down and converted into energy. When your body doesn’t produce a sufficient amount of insulin or can’t process the insulin it is producing, this is the result. This is why insulin injections are the most common type of diabetes treatments.
What Does Diabetes Have to do With Your Hearing?
Diabetes is a common complicated condition which can often be degenerative. With the help of your doctor, it has to be managed carefully. So how is that related to your ears?
Believe it or not, a pretty common indicator of type 2 diabetes is sudden hearing loss. The link is based on the ability of diabetes to create collateral damage, typically 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 experience sudden hearing loss even before other, more traditional symptoms of diabetes appear (numb toes, for instance).
What Should I do?
You’ii want to get medical help if your hearing has suddenly started acting up. Diabetes, for instance, will often be totally symptomless at first, so you might not even realize 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 types of hearing loss. But it’s not only diabetes you need to be watchful for. Sudden hearing loss can also be caused by:
- Tissue growth in the ear.
- Autoimmune diseases.
- Infections of varied types.
- A blockage in the ear (like an ear wax build-up).
- Problems with your blood pressure.
- Blood circulation problems (these are often caused by 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 manage 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 early enough, your hearing will usually return to normal with proper 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 truly does depend on prompt and efficient treatment. If they are not addressed in time, some conditions, including diabetes, will bring about permanent harm to your hearing. So if you’re dealing with any type or amount of hearing loss, have it treated now.
Pay Attention to Your Hearing
If you get regular hearing screenings, sudden hearing loss could be easier to identify and you might stop it from sneaking up on you by catching it sooner. Specific hearing problems can be identified in these screenings before you observe them.
There’s one more thing that diabetes and hearing loss have in common, treating them sooner will bring better results. Neglected hearing loss can result in other health concerns such as loss of cognitive function. Make an appointment with us for a hearing assessment right away.